Today’s PSA for the Service Industry:
Starts with a story…
“Would he like a sippy cup?” The hostess asked as she led Marcus and I to a table.
“What?” I asked. Surely I didn’t hear that right.
“Does he need a sippy cup?”
“You mean this young man with the attractive 5 O’clock Shadow? No. He does not.”
Marcus and I like to go out to restaurants and coffee shops. Being the “work club,” we take that time to work. Generally, I sit with my computer or notebook and he too sits with a notebook. Generally, he draws in his notebook. Recently another server asked, “Would he like a coloring book?”
I turned to Marcus, “Would you like a coloring book?”
“What?!?” he said, “That’s kid stuff!”
“Oh.” She said, and to her credit, she did concede, “You’re right. You’re not a kid. You are a young man.”
“Yes.” He replied.
Generally, we sit in a booth (his preference if there is one) and he draws characters from the next Marcus the Musical that runs through his mind. Sometimes I break from what I’m working on to tweet on @marcusmusical one of his flashes of inspiration. But that’s not what we’re talking about today.
Today we’re talking about what it takes to get a good tip when serving an adult with Down syndrome.
It’s quite simple, really.
#1 Speak to Marcus, not about him. Look at him when asking a question and listen for the answer. It is OK to look at me if you don’t understand (for translation) but it’s better to think it through, repeat what you think he said, and clarify – to him. It’s true, his speech can be difficult for a stranger to understand, and requests like lemonade (his current beverage of choice) is trickier for him to articulate than most people. However, not impossible. I’ll talk more about language later, but today, let’s focus on the obvious. Show respect to the young man I am dining with and your tip will be better.
Now, if you want more than a good tip, follow with me on this: When you look right at Marcus, speak to him, then listen, this guy will repay you with praise and joy. He will likely invite you to his Broadway birthday party. It is not unusual for him to tell you, “You’re the best!” with a thumbs up and a smile that, if you take the moment to soak it up, brightens any day or night. In fact, check out this story where we made new friends.
In my experience, it seems that people who already have a personal connection with a person who has a disability, they get it. They are the ones who look at Marcus with respect and give him the courtesy of their attention. They know Marcus is his own person. I assume it is the people who have no family or friends with a disability, they are the ones asking about sippy cups.
By the way, I didn’t really reply with the 5 O’clock shadow remark. I just said, “No.” I try to be well behaved in public even with those who don’t understand. I leave the teaching to Marcus, it’s one of his strengths.My son, an adult with #DownSyndrome , does not want a children's menu or need a sippy cup. This is today's PSA for the service industry. How to get a good tip: Click To Tweet
What about your family? What makes a server stand out from the rest and garner a really good tip?
*This #TBT was originally posted in April of 2013* Thanks for stopping by! Please, leave a note and for emailed updates, not too frequently, Join the Club Here
Next time, go ahead with the 5 o’clock shadow remark. Some people get what they deserve.
I agree! Say it next time
People suck but they have the ability to get it sometimes… I may have used to suck, or not, but I know now that I’ve learned to ask the person, always.
I have a sense of the how you felt. It was from a different perspective, but what made the impression upon me at the time was watching one person deny another person. (Denial in the more technical sense, the editing of one’s reality in order, one assumes, to deal with a situation.)
Years ago I accompanied my elderly father to a doctors appointment. At the end of the visit the doctor made his recommendations to me. While the three of us were sitting in the examining room. I will never forget that. It wasn’t like a rudeness or a misunderstanding. That we all witness all too frequently in daily life. It was the very fundamental decision on the part of the doctor to edit my father out of the interaction.
I kept looking at my father and the doctor kept talking to me (and referring the my father in the third person). Since my father did not seem to want to call the doctor a jerk, I refrained from saying anything.
People can be kinda messed up.
YES – It is exactly that.
We’re all learning, I get that.
And then sometimes I just have to say, C’Mon People!
(Thanks for stopping)