Yesterday, a regular customer of mine ( a lady of around 60 years old) came to the restaurant to eat. I didn’t notice her until another waitress asked me “Does she usually take the 10 oz or 16 oz ribs?” I really had no idea what she was talking about at first. I quickly finished cleaning my section so I could go over and say hello.
She’s only been coming every Sunday for the past 2-3 weeks, and every time by herself, and always orders a Bloody Caesar (with double vodka) to start. Last time, she offered to buy me one! I told her that was really sweet, but we aren’t allowed to drink on the job. She understood and told me that she was really thankful for the wonderful service. I was touched. She said she would come back to see me because I was a really sweet waitress.
Yesterday, however, when I went over to say hello she didn’t seem like herself.
“Hello there! How are you today?” I asked.
She shook her head and played around with a magazine and bouquet of flowers she had on the table.
“I’m…down.” She replied. “My husband is dying…”
I didn’t really know what to say, except that I was sorry to hear that. I’ve never really been good at knowing what to say in those types of situations, especially with people I don’t really know. She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t know what to do. She was so depressed, even though it had been a long time coming. The way I see it, no one can ever be fully prepared for that, no matter how long you might know it will happen.
The woman also told me that she had no family around, no friends, and that she was alone. I told her that I work during the day on weekends and it’s relatively quiet (not too many people at that time), so if she felt down to come have a quick bite to eat and we could chat. She said she would really love that. She promised to bring me pictures of her grandchildren that live in Toronto. I said I’d love to see them.
“Enough about this, I don’t want to burden you at all,” she told me.
“It’s not a burden,” I explained.
“I’m so glad I met you!” she said sweetly. All I could do was smile.
Her waitress came by at that point and we all chatted for a bit. A few minutes later we passed by the table again to check on her and she told us that she wanted us to have her flowers. We denied them at first, saying it was too generous and she deserved to have some beautiful flowers around her house. She explained that she already had too many.
“I’m an old woman! Don’t argue with me!” she exclaimed.
So the other waitress and I accepted and thanked her for her generosity. She headed home after…I hope that she got home safely. She seemed pretty down. Hopefully I’ll see her next week and she’ll be feeling better. I at least hope that maybe I cheered her up a little bit by lending an ear. Everyone needs someone to talk to.