Inspiration at Waffle House

Sometimes, maybe once a week, I find myself at Waffle House enjoying their steak and eggs (medium, over medium, wheat, scattered and well done).  I admit, this is not where you go for a great steak, and the atmosphere is passable at best – but sometimes, good enough is well, good enough.

That’s why I was shocked recently when a employee came in while I was waiting for my order.  As soon as he hung up his coat, he went to work. He first washed all of the tables, then swept and washed the floor. All the while he was telling the other employees that a clean restaurant is a good restaurant.  That it’s good for business and they would all make more money if the place was clean and neat.  By now, my food had come and he was filling ketchup bottles.  Finally someone asked him why he was there so early. You wouldn’t believe it…

It turns out this guys car was not working.  When he didn’t know for sure if he could find a ride to work, he’d leave in enough time so he could walk the entire way if he had to.  I was intrigued.  So I asked him, how long of a walk is it?  About 90 minutes was the reply.  Don’t miss this:  here’s a guy who would walk an hour and a half to get to his minimum wage job, and once he gets there, he starts working even if he’s early and his shift hasn’t started yet.

I wished I could have hired him. This guy will be successful someday. He knows the value of a job and of hard work. He knows you have to show up.  He knows you can’t succeed by making excuses.  I know people who are making very good salaries who haven’t figured that stuff out yet.

Your employer and your clients don’t owe you anything.  You’re job is to deliver more than expected and make yourself valuable.  When you solve someone’s problems for them, you will be rewarded.

Oh, back to the Waffle House.  My waiter was just hanging out, I had to ask for more coffee and water. She obviously thought this guy was nuts.   Well, I tipped my waiter a fair amount, somewhere around 15%.  I then went to the hard worker and tipped him – about 10 times the amount of my bill.  I told him that he encouraged me, and I wanted to return the favor.


Posted on December 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

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