Saturday, May 31, 2008


If I were rich I'd leave bigger tips.

Many years ago my husband and I went to dinner with Doug. Doug was married to my husband's cousin, Jill, before she died from a brain tumor. In his mid-twenties, Doug was adjusting to life as a young widower with a new baby. He'd been working for a while at his first job since graduating from college. For the first time in a long time, Doug seemed good. 

We went to Ruby River in downtown Salt Lake City and we arrived just minutes before closing time. Our waitress was very annoyed, especially after we ordered only an appetizer to share and dessert. Our bill was not large. When the bill came, Doug paid (for us, too, I think) and then left the waitress an extremely generous tip.  Her tip was over 5x what we'd paid for dinner. We left. We were still in the parking lot when she ran out to tell us there'd been a mistake with the tip.
"There was no mistake," Doug said. Then he smiled, "have a good evening." 
She was shocked, but she did mumble a genuine "Wow, thanks."
In the car, Doug smiled, "I've always wanted to do that," he said. 

We then drove to the hospital where Doug's good friend from high school was dying of pancreatic cancer. He and his wife asked Doug for advice on losing one's spouse while their two toddler boys climbed on the bed rails and pulled on IV lines. 

Sitting there, amid the heartbreak it was nice to know that the waitress, at least, had had a good night. 


Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I think you should be writing adult fiction, not YA. Think about it, this is beautifully written. You have a spareness to your style, no extra words, all the exactly right ones.

Catherine said...

Circumstances are really sad, but Doug's eccentricity is so funny, we would like to afford the same free kindness just for the pleasure. That's what we call "ĂȘtre grand seigneur".

Damama T said...

"...the waitress, at least, had had a good night." I think you underestimated the goodness of the night. You and your husband also had a better night by having witnessed the random act of kindness. I bet that the waitress' family and friends benefitted from her bettered temperment that night. Plus, I bet you have never again (if you ever did before) under-tipped. Therefore, the kindness is still being passed on. I hope Doug knows what a legacy he started.