Summer is still kicking it for a few more weeks, with hotter days ahead. From what I see on social media, folks are on vacation, going on vacation, or still planning something, even a staycation. It’s all good. I LOVE summer!
Beach vacations are always a big hit with families, individuals or couples, and our family was no exception. When our family was healthy, a trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, squeezed its way onto our summer calendar. Fun ruled the days, and Skeeball ruled our evenings because the games were 25 cents (they may still be). Even if one of the kids won a big stuffed animal playing Skeeball, ice cream was still the treat afterward.
One summer, when our kids were tweens or early teens, we set a challenge for them when it came to eating in a restaurant. We wanted them to notice how hard the wait staff works and for them to choose a waiter or waitress that fits that bill. Once they and the family decided on the best server we’ve had (not all our meals were in restaurants, by the way), our family would leave a crisp $100 bill as the tip.
Let me add that eating in a beach restaurant took on a whole new lens, especially looking through the eyes of two kids wanting to provide a significant gift of cash after a stellar dining experience.
By the end of the week, we entered Arena’s Deli off Rehoboth Avenue with nary that large tip as promised. After a short wait, we were seated in the cool dining area and met our kind waitress. She came bearing gifts of four ice glasses of water, smiled, and doted on each kid. She ran through the litany of house specials, but the kids ordered their usual fare (chicken and chicken nuggets). So far, so good. The kids were impressed and giddy about maybe “she-is-the-one-to get-the-large-tip.”
When our meals were delivered to our table promptly, with our waitress swinging by us in case we needed anything, the kids began discussing in earnest how this young woman needed our preplanned tip. Giving examples of her work, the kids presented a thought-out case to us. The four of us then deliberated until our waitress handed the check to Hubby Bill on whether or not this waitress was the one that stood out the best. The kids were practically jumping out of their skin with excitement and a resounding “Yes!”
The last few minutes of this dinner were precious. Bill paid the check with a credit card, which went back and forth a couple of times with the waitress. The kids could not wait for our waitress’s surprise, still knowing we would not be in the restaurant when she opened the black credit card folio. We could all feel the anticipation and excitement for this young mom waitressing at the beach to hungry crowds.
As we got up from our chairs, Bill took out the crisp $100 bill and slipped it into the folio along with the signed restaurant receipt. We tried to hurry out and around the corner before the waitress cleared the table.
We were almost in the clear when she ran up to us out of nowhere to thank us for the generous tip. She added that she badly needed the money that week and the tip could not have come at a better time.
Olivia and Ryan were in awe of the power of that kind gesture - a simple act of manufacturing sunshine for someone else. They talked about “the tip” for the rest of the summer. They learned the power of helping others and complimenting someone’s work with great appreciation - that time with a Ben Franklin.