As a forty-something-year-old woman, I hear it all the time. “You’ll find him when you least expect it.” Married people love singing this refrain often. While I don’t know if I can apply it to my love life, I can certainly connect it to waiters I have met in my lifetime. Some of them have even saved my life.
I think you can relate if you’ve ever dated. It’s hard to meet a guy for the first time. You’re basically having a meal with a stranger. And you don’t know if he’s going to be THE ONE or the one who only talks about himself for an hour and half or the one who keeps wiping the condensation off his glass and fixing his fork to a perfect right angle. Perhaps the worst date I have ever been on is the one where the guy left five minutes after he arrived.
“I have an emergency,” he said. He didn’t look anxious or stressed out, but he was out the door faster than I could say my name. But I am not one to miss out on a meal and neither was my waiter.
“What an ass!” he said. “You know, if you don’t want to eat lunch, don’t worry about it. No charge on the drink.”
“Are you kidding? I’m starving. I don’t care if I have to eat here alone.”
Of course, on some level I did care. Being a Sunday, the restaurant was super crowded, and I was seated in a corner near the door. Everyone who entered the restaurant saw me. But it didn’t matter. My waiter understood. He kept coming around and talking story, no matter how busy the restaurant got. If he didn’t have to work, he probably would have sat down and eaten with me. In the end, I was glad my date left me at the table. I would have never experienced such kindness if he didn’t.
Perhaps nowhere have I experienced kindness best than at Mariposa. For those of you who have never been there, it’s the top floor restaurant at Neiman Marcus in Ala Moana Center. The picture above is the view from the lanai. I had eaten there many times before and so had my father. But my mother had never been there. So this year, we decided to celebrate her birthday there.
We sat out on the lanai. I, personally, like the outside because the restaurant itself can be a little noisy. But the lanai is like you’re in your own personal sanctuary. The lunch started out like any other lunch. Our waiter introduced himself and of course, they came with the pop overs and that strawberry butter. This is not the place to be if you are staying away from carbs. It’s hard to refuse that pop over! And then we ordered. My mother and I shared the Eggs Benedict and a salad. My father had some pasta dish.
I have never been a big fan of Eggs Benedict. I think it’s because the Hollandaise sauce makes the biscuit soggy underneath. It just looks so unappetizing. But here, I got my sauce on the side. And when you do, you notice the biscuit. I’m sure there’s lard or some kind of shortening or butter, but I didn’t care. It was the most delicious thing in the world. My mother couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful that biscuit was. She even told the waiter that they should sell just that biscuit. (which they do on Sundays) They really should. They would make a killing.
If you’re celebrating a birthday, the waiter will bring out a dessert on the house. Our waiter didn’t know about my mother’s birthday. But when he heard me mentioned it, he felt so bad. You should have seen him. He made a beeline for the kitchen and came back with their signature ice cream, which you can see in the top photo. We ate two desserts that day. So delightful!
But our waiter saved the best for last. Before we left the restaurant, he came back with a large bag and offered it to my mother.
“What’s this?” she asked.
When she looked inside, she nearly squealed. He had bought her a biscuit to take home. Oh my goodness. Could that day get any better? It’s nice when a waiter does that for you, but when he does that for your mother, that is beyond words. My mother was so happy and let me tell you she did not feel the need to share that biscuit. She ate it all by herself.
If you’re wondering why I have no pictures of the Eggs Benedict and the aforementioned biscuit, it’s because by the time I realized that I needed a picture, that biscuit was already in my stomach. It’s that good.
Have you got a waiter or waitress story? Share it with us in the comment section. We like reminders of kindness.