Opinion: What We Can All Learn From Tip Employees

Herbie J Pilato


Decades ago - when I first moved to Los Angeles, I held several waiter/food server, and front desk positions in various restaurants, hotels, and private country clubs in the county.

I was trained on how important it was to offer my service with a smile and enthusiasm. "The bigger the smile," I was told by numerous supervisors, "...the bigger your tip."

In the many years since I held those jobs in the food service/hospitality arena, I have found myself at the other end of the spectrum. I dine out a great deal, whether for social gatherings, or entertaining clients, vendors, and business associates during various meetings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For business meals, and out of professional courtesy, I always try to pick up the tab, which means I'm also the one who leaves the tip. In social gatherings, I also try to do the same or at least contribute to the tip.

Because I frequent certain eating establishments (is that a phrase?) on a regular basis, many of the waiters and waitresses know who I am. However, I notice that most of them only smile at me when they serve me or a given party of individuals with whom I am breaking bread. On certain days, if I am served by a colleague of theirs, their colleague smiles at me, but they do not.

Sometimes, when this has happened, I've thought, "Geeze...that waitress (or waiter) was a really nice person. But they were only smiling at me to get a good tip."

That said, I always give a good tip...even if I am served in a less-worthy manner (or even without a smile from my own server)...because I've "been there," and I "get it."

But now I'm thinking: What if we ALL smiled and each other....and did for one another in the highest regard on a daily basis?  What if we treated each other as if we were going to "tip" one another for our kind demeanor?

What a different world it would be.

Everyone would be walking around smiling at each other and while there would not be any "tips," per se, the result would be even more profitable:  

If we all "pretended" that every smile we gave would be returned with a "monetary tip," we would, in the process, be blessed if not financially, but physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually...on so many levels.  Because ultimately a smile can work more wonders in our lives...for the health....not only of our bodies...but for the health of our minds and our spirit.

In turn, as well, we would be more generous with others, and most likely end up "paying it forward" in countless additional ways that we would not even be able to measure; and then, in double return, we would reap the "benefits" of our generosity, ten-fold.

In other words, maybe one of the best ways that we could live our best life is to do for others when there is absolutely nothing in it for us.

As a result, we may just receive countless blessings from the Universe, if only by osmosis and just plain good karma.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS: A TREASURE HOUSE OF DECEMBER MEMORIES REVEALED, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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