I used to work with probably the most famous waiter in town. At least among the fancy people. He was taller than me, older than me, knew more about food and wine than I did. He was the most requested waiter where I worked, where people requested waiters because they were spending three hundred bucks and wanted the best experience.
And I always thought he was a bullshitter. And he kinda was.
He would tell the women that they looked beautiful. As he kissed their hands. He would tell the men they looked handsome and were kind and generous, as he gently bowed. He would ask them sincerely if their meals were to their taste and would pull every string to fix things, if they needed fixing.
It used to be a joke the way he served. There goes Rad again, we would say or think.
In retrospect, I have much more respect for him. He made people feel good in a way I never did. He made more money than I ever did. He finished his shift with more satisfaction and good feelings than I ever did.
He made people feel better when they left than when they had arrived. He had skill and kindness. It was natural for him. And, as a formally un-educated man, it put his kids through school. He gave much more than he took. And I just heard recently that he finally retired.
I hope that when he wakes up on a Saturday, when he doesn’t have to schmooze anymore, that he remembers how much he was loved. He made anniversaries and birthdays and funerals and engagements that much more special.
Because he could give a compliment in a way that no one else could. In a way that was believed. In a way that was sincere.
So much respect. In retrospect.