Stepping outside of my comfort zones

By Steve Sell
July 09, 2014

I don’t think I’ll be quitting my day job anytime soon.

Tuesday night at Sportsview Pub ’n’ Grub out on West Kansas, which shares occupancy with Starlite Lanes, I had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zones of writing and golfing.

I was asked to be a part of the second annual Circles of McPherson County’s Celebrity Dinner, which lasted from 6 to 9 p.m.

I was an “alleged” celebrity — where they came up with that I have no idea. The Mayor, Tom Brown, is a celebrity. Fire Chief Jeff Deal is a celebrity. Superintendent Randy Watson certainly is a celebrity. Chad Clark of the McPherson Healthcare Foundation thinks he’s a celebrity, so he qualified.

 Me? Just a pedestrian ham-and-egger who lives paycheck to paycheck in attempt to keep my head above water.

This was a fundraiser, with all the tips going to the organization. Judging from what I saw, there was a great turnout as every table was full and the tip jar was brimming to the rim. Congratulations go to those who supported us in this important endeavor.

My job was to wait tables. I have to say, by the time my shift was over, I have a new-found appreciation for what these people do. There’s more to it than meets the eye.

I just thought I’d show up, put in my time and call it a day. On the surface it sounds so simple, but yet there’s a lot that goes into being a waiter.

Once I donned my apron, I was given a crash course on how this gig works. I was given a pad to take orders and learned the table numbers so the orders would get to the proper patrons. I have to admit I was nervous, because I’m not one who takes criticism well and I didn’t want somebody to tell me I brought them the wrong order.

I did use my journalistic training in this job. I took the orders in somewhat of a shorthand style, like I do when I interview a coach, though given my advanced years and lack of hearing I just tape record everything now.

Some of my customers rattled off their orders quickly, such as what they did or didn’t want on their hamburger or what kind of dressing they wanted on their salads. I know from experience that I dislike lifting the bun on my hamburger and seeing lettuce and tomato when I specifically asked for that to be left off.

One thing I have always appreciated from a waiter is for them to read back what I ordered. So I employed that. It’s a good thing or I would have gotten a couple of orders wrong.

I would take the orders, give them to the proper authorities and then check on my customers from time to time to see if they enjoyed their food or if they needed their water or soda refilled.

I want to thank those customers who said I did a good job and left a healthy tip. My late father always told me to treat people just as you would want them to treat you. I had some nice compliments on my tableside demeanor and I served with a smile.

I have to thank those who work at Sportsview. They were very patient with me and reminded me when it was time to check on my customers. These people work just as hard at their job as I do mine. And I can’t say enough about the food, it was wonderful.

Most of all, I’m happy that funds were raised for Circles of McPherson County. Maybe when it has its third annual fundraiser, I’ll be invited back. I guess it all depends on my job evaluation.