Years ago, I served for a week as the guest host for a Christian family camp in the Rocky Mountains. At breakfast one day when I was particularly hungry, I noticed, sadly, that the Belgian waffles were disappearing from the waffle bar as soon as they came out of the iron; guests were standing in line for these outstanding breakfast treats.
I held back, though I love Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, because it was more important that the paying guests got all they wanted.
As the dining room began to clear out, I saw that two beautiful, golden-brown waffles still remained on the plate at the waffle bar, though the batter was gone and no more would be made that day. I approached the young lady behind the waffle bar and asked, “Are those waffles spoken for?” (Of course I knew what her response would be.)
But, I shouldn’t have assumed. And her answer has stuck with me for more than a decade. She said, “Well, I ain’t eaten breakfast yet, so I guess them are mine.”
Oops. (And I’m not talking about her grammar.)
Seems a non-camp employee had been called in at the last minute to fill in for a trained worker who was sick that day. She lived in the town nearby and had been employed from time to time by the camp manager to serve in various functions, usually behind the scenes. But she didn’t quite get the idea of customer service, did she? No doubt, she was promised a free meal at the end of her shift, and by golly, she was going to claim that meal, even if it meant a guest/customer had to go without.
The camp manager and his wife were mortified when I told them the story. They were two of the most gracious, service-oriented people I’ve ever met. And the incident was not a reflection of their philosophy.
So, what could be done to avoid this kind of mishap in the future?