Kindness Daily: Best Servers

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Best Servers December 6, 2012 – Posted by Lindteggs
Recently I was on a retreat in a foreign country with some friends, some strangers, and many strangers who became friends!

We were all given duties to perform, such as cleaning and cooking. I was in the team serving meals.

On the first day I tried hard to please everyone, but it was hard to know how. Some people liked it when you were fast and just gave them their food, some people preferred it slow and steady so that they could choose exactly how much they wanted, some wanted, for example, stew without the carrots in it, some didn’t know what I was serving and didn’t speak English. If they weren’t served in the way they wanted some grew irritable. As you can imagine, after an hour of this it started to get old.

So the next day, we tried a different tactic.

I learnt how to say "Would you like …" in several languages and tried to see everyone’s name badges (which also indicated where they were from) to make sure that they understood what I was saying to them.

I was serving beans so when people came up to me I beamed at them and said "Would you like beans?" If they said no I acted mock offended and some of them smiled and reconsidered. If they said they did I smiled more and said, "Yayy, you want some beans!" And I said something personal to them, like, "Good choice, they’re delicious!" or I complimented them on something they were wearing. My friends and I also started singing when we weren’t serving to keep our spirits up.

I was so enthusiastic that we actually ran out of beans before everyone got served! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was making them smile, or annoying them, or freaking them out!

After a few days of this though, whenever I saw people I had served they smiled and thanked me, saying how it had brightened up their day that we hadn’t just put food on their plates. We even got an award for the best servers at the end!

We did other things that weren’t our duty too, like cleaning up, or washing dishes for people when everyone was supposed to do their own. At first people were confused when we did this, then they said, "Are you sure?", then they realized they were getting a favor without giving anything in return and they would be thankful.

So, this is really a long story to reiterate a short point which I’ve seen made countless times on this site before – sometimes a smile or a positive attitude makes all the difference!

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