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My 10th Random Act of Kindness was 50% planned kindness, 50% divine intervention.  I had planned a surprise lunch with two of my dear friends, Lisa and Nicole, but due to other obligations, our time together was quite limited.  We drove around, searching for a restaurant, and finally settled on Applebee’s as the clock continued to count down our time.

Upon entering the restaurant, we realized the odds were against us for a quick meal.  Several booths were full (it was the lunch hour, after all), and we could only see one waitress scampering around trying to meet all the needs.  In fact, after we were seated, it took several minutes just to have someone tell us who our server would be.

The gal who approached our table was not the waitress, perhaps she was a manager, I’m not really quite sure.  All I remember was her bright purple blouse and her smile.  I explained (as courteously as I could) that we were on a tight schedule and needed a quick meal.  “Would it be possible for us to order everything now, including dessert?”  I didn’t want the special time I had with my friends to be overshadowed by the stress of time constraints and undelivered food.

The gal explained that she was not our waitress, but understanding our dilemma, she offered to take our order until our waitress could come to our table.  Needless to say, we never saw our assigned waitress.  Ever.  The gal in the purple blouse returned with our drinks and our dessert (Backwards lunch!  Fun!) and through the course of our meal she returned again and again to serve our food, refill our drinks, take additional orders, and simply check on us.  She was friendly and kind and her joy was a perfect compliment to our meal.

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As we finished our meal, the gal returned with three separate checks.  Without hesitation, I grabbed the checks, preparing to treat my friends to lunch as my next RAK.  As I sat there counting out the bills, I had an overwhelming urge to bless our server.  She was not supposed to be our waitress; she merely seated us.  It was her choice to stay as our surrogate waitress.  Not only did she serve our meal, but she blessed us by listening to our needs and doing everything in her power to provide the quality time we needed.

And with that spirit, I reached into my birthday bag and counted out $10.

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Yes, folks, I left our server a $10 tip.  I shoved it in an extra bank envelope I had in my purse and wrote a note on the back, thanking her for her diligence and hard work.  She returned to our table before I could finish the note (and take a picture), so I just handed her the bank envelope and simply said, “This is for you.  Thank you so much for EVERYTHING!”

I have come to realize that time spent with friends is priceless.  To have a stranger recognize the importance of that time only adds to the joy!  To return the blessing in an unexpected tip was the least I could do.

This 10th RAK is dedicated to Victoria Soto, age 27, a first grade teacher who taught her students in Classroom 10.  According to a parent whose student was in her class, Victoria “was a vibrant woman who loved the kids.”  She was a hero in every sense of the word as she tried to protect her students, even standing between them and the gunman, allowing some children the opportunity to flee.  With bright blue eyes and a sparkling smile, it is easy to see how her love for children would shine through.

I encourage you today with two challenges:  Take the time to recognize kindness in an unexpected place.  Then make a difference.

Be blessed, dear friends, and thanks for taking the time to read!  I am blessed to have you as a follower!

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Last night, my team and I went out to dinner before presenting an an out-of-state conference. After driving for over five hours, we were starving!

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We had a very large group joining us (22 people in all!) so we had low expectations for efficient service. (When was the last time you went out to dinner with 22 people wanting to be seated together?)

I am happy to report that our dining experience was amazing! Our waitress, Ashley, was phenomenal. She cheerfully explained the specials and didn’t bat an eye when we sheepishly changed our orders. Drinks were refilled without asking and appetizers and meals were served hot and in a timely manner. Not a single error was made in our orders! It was a miracle!

We chatted with her towards the end of our meal and complimented her on the delightful service and accuracy in the orders. “Well, when I give the cooks your order, I only write up six orders on a page. This makes it easier for them and fewer mistakes are made.”

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Because of Ashley’s impeccable service to all the conference presenters, we were able to enjoy our time together networking instead of being frustrated or inconvenienced. I really wanted to do something for our waitress to show my appreciation for a job well done, so I reached into my bag, jotted a personal note on the back of my business card and added it to a $5 Starbucks gift card.

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I handed the card to Ashley as we departed from the restaurant, thanking her for all her work. I wished I had more gift cards, because I would have loved to have treated HER to a dinner she could enjoy!

The next time you are eating out, take a moment to not only enjoy your meal, but thank your waiter or waitress. While serving you is part of their job, to know their service is appreciated validates all they do!


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