It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m late for work. I’m running late because, consciously and unconsciously, I don’t want to work at Café Machiavelli today. The money’s been sucking, we’re understaffed, and I’m just sick of restaurants in general.
Of course I forget to eat today. That’s ridiculous because I have a ton of Easter leftovers in my fridge. I was so busy writing that I didn’t want to get up from my desk and interrupt the flow of ideas for something as trivial as “nourishment.” I’m a dope sometimes.
As I near the restaurant I hear my insides growling. I’ll never survive waiting tables on an empty stomach. I should really get something to eat before I pass out. Of course I didn’t leave the house with any money either. I reach into my pocket and find two singles and a couple of quarters. That’s enough for a slice of plain pizza. I walk into the pizza parlor next to the restaurant and order one.
“To go?” the teenage girl manning the counter, asks.
“Yeah,” I say. “Don’t even bother heating it up. I’m in a rush.”
The girl slips a greasy, unappetizing looking slice of pizza into a paper bag and hands it to me. “That’ll be two dollars.”
I hand the girl my two singles and drop the quarters into the tip jar.
“Thanks,” the girl says.
“Take it easy,” I reply.
I walk into the restaurant. I’m fifteen minutes late but no one says anything. I change into my uniform, do all my prep work, and get the specials from the manager. After I scribble down the offerings for the night, I grab my cold pizza and head into the kitchen.
“Hey Jose,” I call out to one of the line cooks. “Could you heat up my pizza in the oven?”
“Sure bro,” Jose replies.
“You didn’t eat lunch?” he asks.
“That’s no good,” Jose says, shaking his head. “You need to eat.”
“It’s one of those days I guess.”
“Come back in a few minutes,” Jose says.
I head back into the dining room. A table’s been sat in my section. Hoping they don’t hear my hungry stomach barking, I cocktail them, tell them the specials, and get their orders. After I input what they want into POS system, I walk into the kitchen to check on my pizza’s progress.
“My pizza ready Jose?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Jose says, putting a plate in the pickup window. “Here ya go.”
I stare at my pizza and choke up. Jose’s placed some grilled chicken and roasted potatoes on top my slice. A little salad and a helping of rice and beans also grace the plate. My two dollar stomach stuffer has transformed into a true meal.
“Thanks man,” I say, touched by Jose’s kindness. “I’m really hungry.”
“Eat up,” he says. “Enjoy.”
Using a dish rack as seat and the bread warmer as an impromptu table, I sit down and dig into one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Oh sure, I’ve dined in some expensive places during the past few weeks, but when you experience hunger sated by human kindness, well, that beats all the three star Michelin Chefs in the world combined.
Aaaw, that’s really sweet. I’ve totally bought the pre-shift on the fly slice before, too. That’s where our stories differ. In my life, I get quadruple sat with annoying, ghetto tables looking for a comp.
When I finally make it to my sad little pizza slice, it’s like 2 hours later, and Jose will only give it to me if I show him my tits. A bunch of kitchen guys point and laugh making lude comments in a foreign language, and a manager walks by and accidentally knocks it over.
That same day I will probably get written up and stiffed simultaneously.
This is a comment for “The Biz Ate My Soul” — Get a new job!
I think that’s one of the best meals anyone can have, and which money can’t buy!
I love sweet kitchen guys. They have their gripes and we have ours, but its nice when the BOH and FOH help each other out to try to make someone’s day better.
I hope you tipped Jose…..or at least tried to get him a date!
Go Jose! This made me smile.
yup totally have those kinda days except…sometimes i really don’t get to eat, maybe get some mashed potatoes. but i usually get the hook up with left over prime rib at the end of the night, i used to work in the kitchen so all the lines cooks pretty much give me what i want lol
Wow. What a heartwarming story. Original. Creative. Not vapid and pointless at all. Brought a tear to my eye. But it would be even better if you posted a few pictures of your cat beside it.
Oh Maox, is that my sarcasm detector a-beeping in the corner over there? Does it matter if it’s fucking original or creative, why do you need to turn a simple act of kindness into a competition. Yea, a story like that’s been all over Hollywood maybe and back but this isn’t some glitzy publisher/producer’s office full of hypocritical nutjobs using human kindness to make a quick buck. I think it’s awesome someone like Waiter and his readers can appreciate a simple act like Jose’s. Apparently your heart has turned to shit and you can’t fathom why this is a good post. And that last part there about a cat, Waiter has joint custody of a dog named Buster. Oh wait, you were being sarcastic, my bad.
not sure where I ran into you, but I surely added you on my google reader.
quickly agreeing that treating people above ane beyond what they expect will always be rewarded.
thank god for people like jose. congrats on your book!
Dramallama says: drama in these here comments!
Aw, what a great story. I found this blog…somehow…and have been reading the archives for the past few days. You’re such a brilliant writer. I’ve preordered your book and I can’t wait to get it.
Let me keep reading…
“Hunger sated by human kindness” Nice!
Well, internet is polluted with pointless stuff like this, and people with no taste or artistic talent whatsoever keep encouraging the people who write it. It’s a filthy habit. All I said was that it would add a serious amount of quality to this story if there were a a few pictures of cats in funny positions and/or awkard situations, that’s all.
Maox: Sure, there’s lots of saccharine crap on the internet. This isn’t it. It’s a heartfelt moment by a talented writer. Okay, maybe it’s not your thing. I can understand that. But that’s the glory of the Internet – it doesn’t all have to be your thing. By trying to cram your opinion down the throats of people who enjoy this site and recognize talent when they see it, you’re just proving yourself to be one of the self-entitled assholes we’ve all read about here.
Don’t like it? Here’s the door.
I just found this blog and I love it! I know what you mean, it’s always nice when the kitchen staff takes care of you. I was hungry and working a really slow shift once so the cooks fashioned a pirate ship out of a baked potato for me. It was awesome.
Random, I couldn’t have said it better. Maox, find another site to try and read, why waste your time and talent??? reading really excellent writing by someone that has something to say. Go get an education, then perhaps you will appreciate the finer things.
Wow. This beautiful story got only 18 lousy comments? And all the bitchy stories get scores? That makes me sad.
God bless Jose. And all the Joses out there.
IOur kitchen guys are nice like that too. Did you throw Jose a few Coronas?
As always, the self-righteous losers with no taste take same stance as they always do- if I don’t like it, I should leave. In my opinion, if you don’t want people commenting on your embarrasing “artistic expressions”, don’t post it on a GLOBAL COMMUNICATION NETWORK, THEN!
Btw, funny with that “get an education” remark. That’s so hilarious, for sooo many reasons. Not least because this blog that you people admire so much is apparently written by a high-school dropout who’s working as a pizza-chef! Fuu-nny!
GIVE JOSE A BJ
^^ A DELUXE one!
IME the days I “forget” to eat I’m really too depressed to even bother. It always bites you in the end. I should say it bites you in the middle of the dinner rush.
That was really, really awesome. I love these kind of posts.
lol Loved your little story .. I forget to eat myself at times- you have a thoughtful co-worker, God provides! -smiles~
Harleyblues, God didn’t provide, Jose did.
Aww what a sweetheart Jose is! And for the record, God did provide, He just chose to do it through Jose.
does god provide for all the starving little black/brown kids in africa/south america that will die today from lack of food, or only americans with jobs like waiter’s?
He reminds me of the cooks at the last restaurant I worked at. The FOH and the BOH were like family. I love those guys. Of course they sexually harassed me and hit on me daily, but they always took care of me when I was hungry and made me laugh when I was down.
^^^^^^^^^KALIKRNGUYX needs to leave Waiter the f**k alone.
I’m super lucky i work in restaurant where i get fed every night beautiful Japanese food cooke dspecial for the staff! and it’s delicious
cool line chef.
yo maox, it`s written by a guy who has a BA in psych, meaning he had to finish high school before getting a university degree.. and who`s written a best-selling book…
two things I`m sure you have never done
That was a great anecdote. Heartwarming, especially in the restaurant business. He’s a good guy.
Aww, these sweet people, feeding the trolls! But you guys should know, they get fed all the time, you really can just leave them alone.
Steve, you have such a wonderful writing style. It almost strikes me as southern. Been reading back through your blog from the beginning after purchasing Keep the Change, it’s nice to see how far you have come. My sister is a waitress, and I must say, the back of the house treats her so well. They are her family.
An experiment was done where a Japanese scientist took two glasses of water. On one glass, he thinks hatefully, and writes on the glass: I hate you. On another glass, he thinks happily, and writes: I love you. He then froze both glasses of water and found the ice in the ‘hate’ glass froze very chaotic, hectic, and unpredictably, whereas the ‘love’ glass froze with beautifully predictable patterns.
It holds true that food made from love will always taste better.