Being Grateful

200177193-003Christmas Eve was a snowy night.  The kind of snow where you can only faintly make out the tail lights of the guy just ahead.  Snowglobe snow.

This was our first Christmas since we sold our home and we are now renting a townhouse.  It was a little sad but our son was with us and that made it better.  We decided to look for an open restaurant, which was no simple task.  Red Robin was open.

We knew upon arrival that they were sorely understaffed for the night.  Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was just a perfect storm, but we could see the frazzled faces of the servers and knew it had been a hard night for them.

Our server was awesome.  Amid the chaos, he was friendly and helpful and just really kind.

The food took a while but we were in no hurry and the snow outside gave us a show to watch.  It was lovely.

We were nearly done when we heard a rumble from the table behind us – it was a multi-generational group.  It looked to be a family with very young children all the way up to a great-grandpa.  How nice.

However, soon their grumbles grew into rudeness and it was all directed at the server. Nothing he could do for them was enough.  He met every bit of rudeness with kindness, probably knowing all the while that there was no tip to be had.  Then they grumbled for the manager.  The insults came out like a musical round.  It looked praticed. All the while their children were watching.

As we left, we handed our server an extra tip.  Hoped it helped make the night a little easier. We also spoke to the manager on our way out and thanked him for being open, that we appreciated it.  He looked near tears, I know I was. You see, the previous year was very slow so they were only allowed three servers for the night.  Between a rush of people and an influx of take out orders, they were blindsided.  We wished each other a Merry Christmas and we went on our way into the snowy night.

Our actions matter.  Our words can either build or tear down – our choice.

But for that Christmas Eve night when nothing else was open, we were appreciative that they had given up their time with family to serve us. It’s much better to go through life with a grateful heart than a complaining heart.  Better all the way around.

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