The look of recognition on her face was unmistakable; you know, the look that lights up her face. Her entire face smiles: lips, eyes, cheeks. Without a word, her countenance telegraphs the message; I remember you, and I like what I remember.
For me to know her when she approached my table is understandable; I never forget a face, well almost never. Names on the other hand elude me. If I remember your name, I’d better get me to the lottery ticket seller most rickey-ticky.
This was the third time I’d encountered this waitress. The first time, like today, was on a Sunday morning, a few months ago, for breakfast. Very crisp, and efficient with the perfunctory smile and vacant glance when asking, “how can I help you.” At the end of the meal she left the bill and I put out the requisite cash + a substantial tip. In this particular eatery it’s customary for the customer to take the bill to the register and pay and then if they want to leave a tip, take such back to the table before leaving. On this occasion, because I was reading a book and enjoying the last dregs of my coffee, this waitress offered to take my payment up to the cashier. I told her “It’s all set, no change is necessary.” A few minutes later she returns and questions if I misread the bill because I’d over paid by twelve dollars. I said, “no, I know exactly how much I gave you.” And that was that. The next time, a few months later, my wife and I had breakfast at this establishment and the same waitress served us and we, all three, engaged in extraneous conversation as well as ordering our meal. Again she was dutiful but no more, and no more was expected; good service and good meal. And again I left a substantial tip. No question this time. You may wonder why I leave a generous tip. I was a waiter and bartender while going through school and I know how much tips mean. Diner breakfasts are inexpensive and any tip, even 20% is a paltry sum. So I give a good tip when the service is up to par or above.
Today when said waitress came to my table, there was no doubt, she recognized me. Today I took my bill of $12.04 to the cashier and returned $8.00 to the table. Do you think that was too much?