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Madison Marshall Elizabeth Powers ENC 1145 Section 14 25 Sept 2013 The Golden Rule My first day as an official server of Texas Roadhouse was probably one of the scariest, most exciting days of my life. Every thought imaginable ran though my head. What if I drop a tray full of plates? What if I ring in the wrong order? What if my tables hate me and forget to leave a tip? I was a nervous wreck. After a whole year of seating guests, six months of taking togo orders, and a full week of server training, I was released into the wild. I felt like a baby bird that was pushed out of the nest by its mother and forced to fly. All it took was one person to mold my serving history in the best possible way. I still remember my first day like it was yesterday. It was Halloween, so all the employees were allowed to wear their costumes. People came dressed as Batman, bananas, Barbie, and every imaginable off the wall costume you could think of. Since it was my first day serving I had to dress up and look incredible. I decided to dress up like an Indian, and I had my mother help me because I was so nervous. My costume was a long brown dress that went a little past my knees with fringes at the bottom and the sleeves. I wore a pair of brown moccasin fringe boots that came to my mid shin. My hair was in two braided pig tails and a brown headband with detailed beading went around my forehead with a red and yellow feather sticking up from the back. My mom used three different shades of her lipsticks to mark three lines under my eyes. One line was red, and the other two lines were two different neutral shades. I looked like I could have been a member of the Seminole tribe, so I knew I was ready to work. When I first pulled


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into the store’s parking lot, I sat in my car for about 5 minutes. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and gave myself a pep talk. I was probably being over dramatic, but I think it helped. It was finally time! I put aside my nervous jitters and walked into the restaurant like I was the boss. In no time I was assigned my first table. I walked out of the kitchen to greet my first guests, and I see my mother and my little sister with the biggest cheese on their faces. I was excited, but I was also disappointed at the same time. I was thinking how can I get comfortable serving strangers when my family members are my first guests?! I decided to stay in character and pretend like I did not even know these people. This worked for probably about 30 seconds because my mother immediately fished in her purse for her camera and began snapping pictures after pictures of me serving their table. Talk about embarrassing. I wanted to put a paper bag over my head because it was clear to all the other servers and guests I was fresh meat. Finally she stopped the humiliation from the camera flashes, and I was able to retrieve their drinks. Right when I placed my mother’s water with extra lemon in front of her, my heart dropped. The hostess sat my second table with a family of four. My hands immediately began to shake. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do next. Do I just leave my mother’s table so I can go greet them? Or do I take my mother and sister’s order and then go welcome them? I took a deep breath and went back in my head to my server training for the answer. I proceeded to take my mother’s order, and then I walked over to my second table. They were complete strangers, but I was ready. The family of strangers turned out to be ordinary, kind people. They were a typical family of four: a man, a woman, and two children. They ordered an ordinary meal which usually included some sort of steak, a baked potato, and a salad. We had a simple conversation about Halloween and what I would be doing and what they would be doing. The answer of course was trick or treating. They finished their meal, and I concluded our encountering with my signature,


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“Thank y’all for coming, y’all have a great night and come back to see us.” Once they were gone I looked inside the book I presented their check in to find a ten dollar tip! I was the happiest human being in the world at the moment! I felt like a million bucks. I rushed to my mother’s table to tell her the great news because for some odd reason she was still there. She told me she was proud, took one more picture, and finally left. I was also surprised to find a twenty dollar bill left on my mother’s table as her tip and a note that read, “You’re a superstar.” One year later I still carry this note around in my server book. At this point, I had made thirty dollars within about an hour. My confidence level was boosted, and I was ready to complete the rest of the night. It was about 6:00 when I was sat with my third table. I thought my nerves would go away, but I was sadly mistaken. I walked up to my table and greeted them by saying, “Hey y’all, welcome to Texas Roadhouse. My name is Madison, and I’ll be taking care of y’all tonight.” The two elderly guests looked up at me from their menus with the sweetest smiles on their faces and greeted me back and asked how my night was going. I let go a deep breath and told them about how excited I was but also nervous because it was my first night on the job all by myself. The kind old woman tapped my hand, told me I looked cute as a button, and said that I would be just fine. And I believed her. I treated this table just like I would any other table. The elderly woman ordered a popular item on the menu called a road kill. Older adults usually ordered this because it was easy to chew and of course delicious. The road kill consisted of a 10 ounce perfectly seasoned chopped steak topped with steamy sautéed mushrooms, onions, melted jack cheese, and two of our made from scratch sides. The elderly man decided to order the same thing, so I told them thank you very much and proceeded to ring in their orders. Ten minutes later I saw their scrumptious meals in the food window, so I rushed to grab the plates because I was so excited


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and slipped on my way there! I was so embarrassed. Every server in the kitchen laughed hysterically at me, and then helped me up. My self esteem immediately shot to the ground. I wanted to cry, but at the same time I had to keep my composure because I had guests to take care of. I shook off the embarrassment and carried the food out to my table. Their faces lit up. Who would have thought two people could get so happy over a chopped up piece of meat. They profusely thanked me, and I let them be. I was still mortified from falling in front of everyone, so I decided to go to the bathroom and collect myself while this polite couple enjoyed their meal. I came to the conclusion that I would not allow myself to let falling in front of everyone affect me. I carried on about my shift. I filled up ice in the drink machines. I wiped down the counter tops. I did everything imaginable to look like a productive member of the Texas Roadhouse team and hopefully erase everyone’s memory of me falling down in an Indian costume. I felt like it was a good time to go check on my table, so I pranced into the dining area and confronted my table. They told it me was the best meal they have eaten in a long time, and we shared a short but meaningful conversation. The couple asked me if I was in school and what I planned on doing with my life. I happily told them I was still in high school but I was currently studying biology dual enrolled at Valdosta State University, and I hoped to attend Florida State University next fall. The couple seemed so intrigued with every word that came out of my mouth. If you have every served a table you would high appreciate this because the general public tends to treat servers like actual servants. We wrapped up our short conversation, and I left them to enjoy the rest of their meal. The night was still going on, and at this time I was handling three tables at one time! Within the short hour my elderly couple of two consumed their meal, I had served 5 total tables including their own. My self esteem had increased slightly, and I was becoming more and


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more comfortable talking to complete strangers. It was finally time for the couple to finish. I offered them desert and they kindly declined. I presented them with their check, and they profusely thanked me for my wonderful service. Their change was five dollars. I was expecting the old man to tell me to keep the change, but he didn’t. I brought him his five dollars and some jingle back, and he asked if he could speak to my manager. My heart was in my stomach again. What had I done wrong? They ate all their food. They seemed to enjoy everything. Keep in mind this was still my first day, so I was under the impression people only asked to speak to a manager if they were disappointed in something. I agreeably told them I would notify her, and shockingly walked away. I felt like everything was ruined. I would never be a good server. I felt like I had failed myself, my trainer, and my manager. It seemed like my manager was talking to this couple for hours. My anticipation was killing me. All I wanted to know was where I had failed and how I could fix it to never mess up again. I was trying to spy on the conversation, but all I could see was the back on my manager’s blonde pony tail. An eternity later, my manager retrieved me and said she needed to talk to me for a moment. I considered banging my head against the wall in disappointment. I walked into her office with a nervous smile on my face; I thought I was about to get fired. She could obviously tell something was wrong with me, but there also seemed to be something wrong with her. We had a short chat about how my first day was going, and she told me my table was highly impressed with my serving capabilities. I generously thanked her and asked why she seemed upset. She told me my table wanted to speak to me before they left and to come speak with her again when my shift ended. I was terribly confused. If I did such a great job then why was she upset?


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I cheerfully walked up to the elderly couple and thanked them for coming to visit our restaurant and to come back and see us again soon. The woman pulled me aside, grabbed my hand, secretively handed me a folded up bill, and quickly closed my hand. I didn’t look at the bill she gave me because I didn’t want to be rude. I graciously thanked her and she told me something that would stay with me forever. I still remember word for word what this sweet, little old woman told me, “Ma’am, thank you so much. Thank you for treating us like we were kings. I just want to let you know that I am going to have radiation in the morning, and this is the first real meal I have eaten in a long time. You have truly lifted my spirits. You had a smile on your face the whole entire time you spoke with us, and I believe you are going to go far in life. Do not put that money in the pot to share with everyone else. Thank you again.” I told her thank you once more and quickly walked away. I began to tear up. How was I able to life up this sweet woman’s spirit by just being her server for about an hour? I opened my fist to discover a fifty dollar bill in my hand. There was no way I could accept this. I rushed back to the table where the old couple once sat only to find two empty plates, two half full glasses of water, and some silverware. This old woman had touched me. I had no idea that she was going through radiation, and she had no idea I had fallen and embarrassed myself earlier that night. I believe this woman taught me the true meaning of “The Golden Rule.” Yes, you should always treat someone the way you would want to be treated because you never know what is going on in their life. Ever since this day, I have treated every single table the exact same way no matter who they were or what they looked like. I touched a woman by serving her a simple meal, and she touched me with a few simple words. At the end of the night I hurried to discover what my manager was so upset about. She told me something that I would never expect. “Madison,” she says, “The old woman you served


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tonight has cancer. She told me how you lifted her spirits and how blessed we were to have you. I just want to let you know that I also have cancer, and you lifting her spirits lifted mine. So thank you.� What had just happened? This was the moment that I knew I would be just fine as a server. I had more respect for my manager and this woman than I had ever had for anyone before. To this day I still remember this old woman. She taught me to always treat everyone the same no matter what they may look like or act like. One year later I still work at Texas Roadhouse and always hope I can lift up one more person’s spirits over a piece of chopped steak and cheese the same way I had once did with her.


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