I was working a busy dinner shift this summer, when the man I’d been serving at the bar, decided to help himself to a lakeside table on the patio. He sat himself outside of my section, and I let him know that I had a full section and would do my best to remember him. I helped him walk through the menu and make a complimentary beverage choice. I delivered it all to him, or sent someone in my place so that he did not wait. After he ate and was nursing a glass of wine, I dropped his check and forgot he existed.
He fell off my radar, as his needs had been met. I remembered he existed when my least favorite coworker smugly told me he told her it was the worst service of his life, as he angrily wrote on the comment card, behind her. I approached him immediately and asked him what was wrong. He wouldn’t speak to me.
I saw him the next day at the grocery store and introduced myself. He still had nothing to say. It was monumental in ways he didn’t know or care about. The manager took it as a green light to joke about what a shitty job I did. Tables that requested me were warned about my recent comment card.
In some strange way, he ruined the last shreds of a job I used to adore with some angry words scratched on a card, left in a fit of drunk entitlement. I’m sure he would have appreciated more attention as he was a moderately tipsy older man, dining alone. I’m afraid I just don’t give a fuck as much as I used to.
Then my dog died. The dog I’d helped be born into our home, 9 years earlier.
I wish so much that I could rewind the clock and have her back. She was hit at the end of our driveway, and it played out as horribly as you can imagine. A dear friend of mine just happened to be there and my eldest daughter carried me through grief I’d never experienced before in the following weeks. Losing Peapod was worse than losing my father. I still look for her. I imagine I always will.
When my best friend died, I got divorced. When my grandmother died years later, I broke up with my loser boyfriend of 8 years. Death is a catalyst for me, and this was no exception.
So I quit my job.
No backup plan. No safety net. No savings. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, that’s for sure…. but I couldn’t do anything else. It’d been nearly 7 years to the day since I started serving, and knew if I waited until something else came along, I might be serving indefinitely. My eldest daughter told me she had absolute faith in me, and that she thought I’d be happier doing anything else.
My first table at the beginning of my last two weeks in the apron, brought two of my favorite faces. Every restaurant worker knows the favorite tables. The folks that make the job worthwhile. Their happy faces turned sad when I told them I had put in my notice and would not be serving anymore. I told them I wholeheartedly appreciated their kindness & support the past few years, but that it was time to do something new.
👩🏼- Too bad you don’t sew.
💁🏼- I love to sew.
As they say… the rest is history. I hung up my apron and now spend my days sewing to my hearts content, earning a living wage. That dream job I had lost sight of or had given up hope existed, is mine.
I never would have had the opportunity, if I hadn’t had the faith to stop doing what made me miserable, and if I hadn’t just leapt… I would never have known how much happier our lives could be. At 40, it’s really nice to be reminded how important it is to have faith.