Within 30 seconds, in all my years of restaurant service, I don’t ever remember making such a sure-fire connection with a table of customers as our waiter did this evening; showing pictures of his friends covered in paint, having the time of their lives.
Having spent many of my younger adult years waiting tables, I know how to serve food to people. At picnics, when someone needs a fork or the ketchup passed, I automatically say “You bet,” while reaching for it. I can clear dishes from a table of eight with one pass. Food service is just ingrained in me.
So tonight I found myself wishing I’d had a smart phone “back in the day” when serving customers. Our server at the local pizzeria, Mangieri’s, used his phone to show us pictures he took at a concert Friday night and an instant connection was made.
We exchanged the usual pleasantries when he introduced himself; when we asked him if he had the chance to enjoy the wonderful weekend weather, he produced a spectacular array of photos of a paint/music festival at a local venue where he was splattered with paint along with thousands of other young people.
With his phone, he scrolled through the pictures quickly, and with a big grin, he said it was the most fun he’s ever had.
Needless to say, we shared a spark of a bond. Not that I’ve ever been to a DayGlow Party, but my husband and I have been to hundreds of live music gigs and were surprised that this young waiter shared a part of his social life with us so freely. (Come to think of it, would I have shared pictures I might have taken at that Metallica Concert in Des Moines? Hmmm.)
Just a comment on the accessibility of experience over generations due to technology, and the readiness of people to share bits and pieces of their lives with each other. (Is it any wonder that droves of seniors are joining Facebook in part to see what and how their teenaged grandchildren are doing?) It’s nice, I think. Social media — and the communicative nature it evokes in real life — has the effect of producing decency and goodwill among strangers. Nothing earth-shattering; just a nice little exchange that connected three concert-goers spanning about 25 years.
And then he took our pizza and lasagna order. And now here I am sharing our waiter’s story with you here…
For what it’s worth, there might be a marketing lesson in here somewhere if I wanted to over-think it. All I know is: it’s Sunday night, lots of smiles over dinner with my family, good conversation, good food, there was Sunday night football on the patio, the weather was perfect, and the waiter got a great tip.