Jake worked as a waiter at a restaurant. One day, their restaurant was under review by a mysterious critic, and his boss ordered all attention to go to the critic. Jake, however, continued to serve whatever customer needed help, and this served him well in the end.
Jake was an aspiring chef who worked as a waiter at a local restaurant. Finding a job in the kitchen had been difficult, so he figured he’d find whatever job he could in a restaurant and work his way from there.
While waiting tables wasn’t what he wanted to do in the long run, he grew to love his job. Moreover, he generally loved serving others. That is one of the reasons he was drawn to cooking; it was one of the best ways he could serve his family growing up.
He could never buy expensive gifts for them, but he could always use the little at his dispense in the kitchen to put a smile on their faces. And that was enough for Jake.
One morning, Jake’s manager, Rob, summoned Jake and the rest of the staff for a meeting. Jake and the staff waited for their manager, nervously murmuring amongst themselves.
“What could we have done wrong now?” some staff members said in hushed tones.
Rob was a tough manager whose sternness bordered on crude at times. He tended to talk down on his staff and overlooked customers he deemed unworthy of his time or attention.
The room instantly fell silent as Rob entered the kitchen. The staff parted like the red sea for Rob as he sauntered in, throwing his weight around as he usually did.
“Okay, listen up! I need all of you to be on your A-game today! None of the half-baked stuff you usually give me!” Rob said rather crudely.
“What’s so different about today?” Jake asked confidently. Jake never took too kindly to how Rob addressed them and always made it a point not to entertain his insults.
“Well, I’m glad you asked, Jake. I just got word that a secret reviewer will be visiting us. Apparently, he or she is a renowned internet restaurant connoisseur. So, we have to make sure we give it our all today. No slip-ups!” Rob explained.
The idea of them running around like headless chickens for one critic didn’t sit well with Jake. He felt good service ought to be a standard and norm for any restaurant.
He often imagined how he would one day run his own establishment; from his perspective, this was not how things ought to be done. But, unfortunately, as Rob would often remind him, he was there to do his job and not share his opinions, so he kept his head down and went on about his day.
“What do you think you are doing? Didn’t I tell you we are focusing on the man?! Are you trying to drive this business to the ground?”
That day all the staff was on the lookout for the critic. Rob was inspecting every customer, trying to decipher who the reviewer may be. He finally came across a man in a flashy suit and an expensive watch. He was certain this was the critic they had been looking for.
So, Rob gathered the staff and ordered them to focus all their attention on that particular customer. All other customers, even our regulars, would have to come second that day.
The waiters were ordered to put on a show for the man. They danced around near him and feigned smiles to win him over. They attended to his every need, taking away used napkins every minute. Even the cook diligently prepared his dishes as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, while everyone was putting on a performance for the man, Jake noticed a modestly dressed woman who hadn’t been served. She had been assigned a waitress, but her waitress’ attention was on the spectacle Rob had organized.
“Hi, ma’am. I hope you are well. Have you been served yet?” Jake kindly asked with a warm smile.
“Hi, young man. A young lady said she’d help me, but she seems preoccupied at the moment. I’ve asked her to help me three times already. I’ve been waiting for almost 20 minutes,” the lady said.
“I’m sorry to hear that. But don’t worry, I’ll be your waiter today,” Jake said warmly.
As Jake took the lady’s order, Rob stared at him in frustration. As Jake approached the kitchen with the woman’s order, Rob began to lay it on him.
“What do you think you are doing? Didn’t I tell you we are focusing on the man?! Are you trying to drive this business to the ground?” Rob barked loudly, catching the attention of the woman.
“I’m sorry, Rob. I understand, but I can’t just ignore the rest of our customers for one man,” Jake retorted.
“You can and will if you want to keep your job!” Rob said before stomping off.
Thirty minutes passed, and the woman’s order was still not ready. Jake went to the kitchen to check on the woman’s order, only to find out the chef hadn’t started on her order yet. He was still working on the man’s meal.
“I’m tired of your excuses! You’re fired! Now get your stuff and get out of my face!”
Jake decided he would bring her one of his favorite starters, which was already prepared, to apologize for the delay. He even insisted he would pay for it out of his own pocket. The woman was grateful, but Rob was fuming.
The man, having finished his meal, finally left. The moment he exited the door, Rob called for yet another staff meeting. He applauded the staff for their work and then turned to Jake with a scowl.
“And you! You think you can just do as you please, huh?” Rob snapped.
“No, sir. I just thought it was—” Jake started before Rob rudely interrupted, tearing at him.
“I’m tired of your excuses! You’re fired! Now get your stuff and get out of my face!” Rob snarled.
Jake was heartbroken. It had taken him a lot to finally get this job. And this was supposed to be his foot into the door to finally becoming a chef. He had already been rejected by every other restaurant out there. This was his last hope.
Jake was devastated, but he did as he was told. The next day he received several calls from restaurants offering him a job saying they heard of him from the critic’s review of the restaurant he used to work at.
Jake was baffled, he decided to investigate. He finally found the review from the critic. It turned out that the woman he was serving was the actual reviewer, not the man.
The reviewer’s article completely criticized the restaurant and the food. The only good thing the article singled out was a welcoming, professional, well-mannered waiter named Jake, who cared about the client and tried his best to make her visit pleasurable.
After the review came out, Jake was able to get a job at one of the best restaurants in town. After a few months as a waiter, he eventually got a job as one of the senior chefs at the restaurant.
What can we learn from this story?
Treat everyone with respect. Rob decided to impress who he felt was important instead of treating all their customers equally. Jake, on the other hand, was overtaken by the man’s flashy suit but chose to treat the woman with respect as well, and it worked out for him in the end.
Don’t be too quick to judge someone. Rob judged the woman as unworthy of his staff’s attention when she was, in fact, the one they had been waiting for all along.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.