Hell has gotten quite a bit toastier today. As I groggily rose out of bed this morning, wondering why I decided to only get 4 hours of sleep, I mentally prepared myself for the day. I got myself ready, grabbed two KIND Healthy bars, and headed on my way. As I rode along the subway, jamming to my usual playlist and munching away on my would-be breakfast, I tried to hype myself up, telling myself that I would definitely get through today. I already had a challenge set by some of the staff from the night before: Sell all of our Sangria (6 Bottles) and we’ll have Sangria with Sunday’s family meal. Me being the competitive human that I am, readily accepted. They also told me to see if I could look to sell our two remaining bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, and our three remaining bottles of Beaujolais. So I got prepped to start the morning running, and sell as many bottles as I could.
I arrived at work and began getting ready for the day. As all of us prepped the restaurant for the day, I started off the first of two shifts with an espresso. I needed to be awake. Immediately tables arrived. The first table I sat for our brunch and I had already sold one bottle of the Sangria. Five left; no sweat. And then I felt a rain drop on my face. Then another. Then another. As I looked up, I realized that the calm had ended, and the storm had finally moved in. All at once the restaurant became packed. More and more people kept piling in. And with only myself working on the floor, with two others helping me as they could, and the server assistant pushed back to dishwashing duty, the day became a hectic mess. I worked to keep a straight head, but unfortunately things slip through the cracks. I had a table that I brought drinks to and then didn’t see again, so they paid and left, reasonably annoyed at the poor service they received. Not a common occurrence, but these things happen. Somehow we made it to the end of brunch without getting swept away by the rising tides, caused by the storm. We were however, left soaking, tired, and very hungry. Those bars were not the solution I hoped they would be. But we picked ourselves up, and prepped for the next service. By the end of the first shift, I had sold three bottles of the Sangria. Only three left to sell. We relaxed and gathered for family meal, chowing down on some fried chicken and rice made by the kitchen, attempting to restore some of the energy lost in the last few hours. During the meal, I made sure to get myself a cup of coffee, in an attempt to wake myself up and energize myself for the next six to seven hours. Now, one espresso and one cup of coffee may not seem like much to most people; it may even be less than what some people drink in a few hours, let alone an entire day. But as a person who has worked to avoid coffee for most of my life, believing that I had more than enough energy to last an entire day, I never thought I would reach the point where I would be actively seeking out coffee so I could survive the day.
The hours of relaxation came to a bitter end, and we prepped for the second shift of service: Dinner. We had a few larger tables right away, so although there were a decent amount of people in the restaurant at the beginning of dinner, nothing felt rushed. I managed to sell off the remaining three bottles of Sangria, and had even more get made, due to popular demand by a table who thought it looked absolutely delicious, and was disappointed when I told them we had ran out. This ended up bringing the total bottles of Sangria sold to six, since one table complained that the Sangria was not “sweet enough” for their taste. (It was a couple who ordered it, and the lady complained, and although the man protested and said he liked it, she persisted, and we had it comped) I thought all was well. I thought that I could almost see the sun shining behind the clouds. I thought, maybe the storm has finally passed! Maybe the rest of the night will be easy! And then, around 7 or 8 o’clock. I felt the rain drops fall from the sky onto my face once more. And like earlier in the day, when it rained; it poured. Table after table came in. One after the other. Some with reservations; many with none. Even with more of us working the Dinner shift, with myself on the floor with another server, along with a server assistant greeting the tables, and helping however she could; even with the dishwasher coming in and working tirelessly to get everything cleaned as fast as possible. Even with rest of the squad, (minus the server assistant from the morning, who left after Brunch) helping out however they could, it was still busy. It didn’t help that we were all completely exhausted at this point, and it was beginning to slowly affect our mental state. I’m pretty sure my brain completely shut off at around 8 o’clock, and I was running completely on determination alone. I was running to tables on auto-pilot. My body knew what it was doing, even if my brain wasn’t registering it. Luckily we made it through the service without any large mishaps, and although it was busy, it was no where near the hell that we faced with Brunch. However, the issue with this storm was that it stuck around for a long time, and would not seem to go away. People continued to flow in, up to about 20-30 minutes before we closed. And those tables ended up hanging around until 10:30-10:40. So although the end was in sight, it was just out of reach. But I was too tired to care at this point. All I was focusing on was ending the shift, heading home, eating, and passing out. I will say however, that there was a couple in the very front corner of our restaurant, who seemed to be having a very good night, if you know what I mean. They were there for about an hour, to an hour and a half, and seemed to be enjoying each others company VERY much. But hey, more power to them. We also had to ladies who were from Ireland, who I believe were visiting, and were so excited to try Emma’s Torch. It was even one of their birthdays! Their genuine excitement and enjoyment of everything we gave them warmed my heart to its very core, and it was an absolute pleasure to bring them some of our fantastic Pistachio Bread Pudding, on us, to celebrate the birthday. I also managed to sell them a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, which I believe ended up being our final bottle.
As the night came to a close, I worked to use whatever energy I had left to get us out of there as soon as possible, so we could all head home and get some rest. It was at this moment in time where the sun broke through the clouds at last. Though I debated grabbing something from the local Rite-Aid down the street; some frozen meal that I could quickly pop in the microwave when I got back home and eat, I chose to just aim to catch the soonest subway instead. As I headed down the stairs to the subway station, I hear a train pulling up. I begin sprinting down the stairs, not wanting to miss this rare opportunity to catch a train that wasn’t somehow delayed. It was at this moment that a young man, probably no older than 14 or 15, opened the Emergency Door, beckoning people through so they could catch this train, as his friend stood in the doorway of the train car, so it would not close and leave us. I happily took this opportunity and hopped into the car, thanking the boys multiple times. As the train began to move from the station, I couldn’t help but smile. Such an out of the blue, Random Act of Kindness warmed my heart and made me so grateful. Its little things like that that I feel we should all be thankful for. You don’t need to do a large gesture to make someone’s day. Something as simple as holding the train for someone, just for a moment so they don’t just miss it, can have a lasting impact on their day. At least it did for me. So to whoever is reading this, if anyone is reading this, please be kind to those around you. And if you see a situation like the one I was lucky enough to experience, and are able to influence it to help someone out; like providing some change for the person in front of you, so they don’t have an excessive amount of coins jangling around in their pockets, or giving someone an extra dollar that they seem to be short on, or even holding the door to make sure someone can catch the subway, please do. I promise you it will make that person’s day a little brighter. And although the smile on their face will eventually fade, and they will go back into their own reality, the smile in their heart, and in their mind, will last for much, much longer.
And with that I am going to end this long, long blog post and get some sleep. It is 2:30 and I need to be up early tomorrow for the final day of work before I get a break once more.
Until next time,