Because we all have bad days
The importance of treating everyone with kindness
The other day, I was sitting at a restaurant with someone — who for the sake of this article I will call Bob — and our waitress came over to greet us. We placed our drink orders and then continued to look at the menu to decide what to eat.
Before long, a different waiter came over to our table and asked us what we would like to eat. We were a little confused, since the other waitress had taken our drink order, but the second waiter said he could help us so we went ahead and ordered our food.
After a few minutes, we saw the first waitress walk by to another table of people who had arrived after us and she was carrying their drinks. Bob got a bit angry because the waitress had not brought our drinks yet and called her over, asking, “Excuse me, when might our drinks be ready?”
She kindly placed her hand on his shoulder, saying, “Oh I’m sorry! I can get those for you. They were….?” To which Bob responded, “Two ice teas.”
Bob pressed the waitress a bit further, insisting with impatience, “No, you took our order. You came over here and wrote it down!”
The waitress, flustered but still displaying patience in her answer, explained she had given the table to the other waiter.
Bob saw his error and stopped interrogating her. When she returned, she profusely apologized for the delay, Bob thanked her, and that was that.
Later on, we saw the waitress teaching the other waiter how to print out the check — and suddenly we understood she was having to train him while also wait on her own tables.
This experience reminded me of an age-old, but still important lesson: always treat one another with kindness, because you never know what someone else could be going through.
The waitress was busy doing her job and watching over another waiter at the same time — and who knows what may have been going on in her personal life. We all have daily trials and we all seek the understanding of others as we go through these trials. It is valuable to take a step back every once and a while to remember how far handling a situation with kindness and patience can go.
I respect this waitress an immense amount for her patience while being berated for something she knew wasn’t her fault. I imagine this makes her quite good at her job, but I also think it might make her good at life as a whole. It takes a lot of strength to act with kindness when you are not being treated kindly.
We all get frustrated, we all get angry and we all have moments when we are more focused on our problems than the problems of those around us. But I think if we want to live in a more loving world, we should always strive to treat others as if they are having a bad day and we are the only people able to make it a little bit better.