I was working at a pretty popular family restaurant near Hollywood around ten years ago. It was a slow Monday night, fifteen minutes from closing, when a celebrity came into the completely empty place with his wife and their young daughter. Well, shit. I put on a happy face, sat them down, and did that thing where you try to combine serving a table with closing procedures. I should never have bothered, because of course I couldn’t do 99% of that stuff until all the customers were gone. The star and his wife were very friendly, and their daughter, who was four or five, was a delight. I couldn’t bring myself to bitch too much, because their check was about $35 and he left a 100% tip. Seriously: exactly 100%. I don’t remember the exact amount, but if it was $35.77, he left $71.54 in cash and change. And they finally got up to leave.
Then, before the door could close behind him, his hand thrust back in to hold it open. He came storming back.
“You guys close at 10?”
“What time did we get here?”
“Jesus. No wonder this place was empty the whole time.” He was genuinely, sincerely upset. I mean it: his hands were shaking a tiny bit and he was talking unreasonably fast. “Look. I have the life I have today because I won the lottery in a way. I’m no more or less deserving of anything than anybody, and I always promised myself I’d never pull entitled bullshit like this.”
Well, it wasn’t like you did it on purpose.
“Yeah, but there’s still something to be said for being considerate enough to look at the hours on the door. How many people are still here?”
Myself, a cook, an assistant manager, and a busboy.
“Okay. You can tell that being diplomatic with me isn’t going to work, right? I swear I’ll be extremely fast, but don’t bother with the ‘don’t worry about it, sir’ crap. I want to talk to all four of you right now because I will make this right.”
I don’t know what it was, but I absolutely knew in that moment that truer words had never been spoken. I went to the back where my three co-workers were and I said, basically, that the guy who just left came back and wanted to talk to all of us, and I REALLY think we should go up there. Somehow, they too knew that this was serious shit. We quickly walked to the front.
“Like I told C.J. here, I’m really, honestly upset with myself for delaying you guys. I don’t want you guys to go home angry at me or angry at your job for forcing you to deal with dumbasses like me. Another thing I told C.J. was that there’s no point in arguing, because I won’t let this go. Are there any questions at all?”
There were none, and he handed us each one of the four piles of one thousand fucking dollars in cash he’d neatly made on the register counter.
So, Kevin Smith is a good dude.
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