I recently had two completely opposite experiences in restaurants. I’ll start with the not-so-great one. I was out of town for a conference. I visit this community about two times a year and have a favorite restaurant. The food and service have always been exceptional, so it’s always the number one stop for dinner while I attend the conference. There was a QR Code taped to the table I was seated at. I asked if they had a menu as I didn’t have my cheaters and it’s hard to read the small writing on my phone. No, the server replied. OK, I said. She then proceeded to let me know that QR Codes are not that difficult. I know, I told her, I use them myself. It’s just that I forgot my cheaters and when I used the QR Code, it was coming up so small. No problem. I ordered something. My food was delivered by someone else. NOT ONCE did my server come to check on me. Before we go to the, this is COVID, there aren’t enough workers, etc. I want to let you know that the place only had five patrons in it. There was another server taking care of three of the tables. My server had only myself and one other individual—and the second patron finished and left about halfway through my being there. My server also had ample time to be chatting with another server for quite some time. At some point, I finally went up to the kitchen area and asked for a box. After boxing my leftovers, I patiently waited for the server to bring a check. After waiting for almost 10 minutes, I stood up with cash and moved towards the door. She came over and said, “Oh, would you like your check?” “Yes,” I said. She didn’t ask how my food was or about my experience. At this point, I gave her the cash, but I stopped at the door where the other server was and complimented him on the service I had witnessed him giving to others. I didn’t complain about the server I had. I chose, instead, to focus on what I saw that was working. I told those around him that he deserved a gold star. They clapped for him and it was awesome. Now, the other experience. I was taking a friend out for a birthday dinner. It had been, well, almost a year since our last one. We were seated at a nice table and handed not only a food menu but also a beverage menu. Our server was attentive, answered questions, clearly knew the menu and even brought dessert with a candle in it. The entire experience through and through was amazing. The food was outstanding and from beginning to end, the night went with such incredible ease. We will be back next year. Two completely different experiences. As I sat back and reflected, it was not just about the service. It was about the welcome. The full experience. When we enter a business, friend’s home, church or, really, anywhere, we know the difference between a warm welcome or a cold shoulder. We know when we are REALLY wanted or when we are simply someone with a credit card or cash. I think about new businesses opening in a neighborhood. Do we give them a warm welcome? I think about the new kids in school. Do we give them a warm welcome? Friends, we have an opportunity, every day, to provide a warm welcome to others—even if it’s in a conversation. I also believe that when we extend a warm welcome to someone, others will also pass the warm welcome forward. It feels good to be accepted. It feels good to know that we matter. I want to invite each of us today to create more awareness around the warm welcome and to extend the warm welcome. Together, we can foster more acceptance and love in the world. I don’t believe it’s just good business. I believe it’s a critical piece of healing and transforming humanity.
Blessings, Peace and JOY—