The waiter’s test

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The waiter’s test

A LONG time ago, I worked as a waiter while waiting for my exam results to come out. It was both a fun and horrid experience as I was serving all kinds of people. There were those who were very nice, always smiling and courteous. But also quite a number who were horrible and rude.

Looking back, I value the experience as an important part of my life’s journey. I recall a nice gentleman who was concerned about my “career” choice of becoming a waiter. He encouraged me to study hard and maximise my potentials. When I explained that it was a part-time job, he congratulated me for being hardworking.

Yet, there are many waiters and waitresses out there who don’t have the choice that I had. They have to put up with all sorts of people. Someone recently sent me a poster that says, “A person who’s nice to you but rude to the waiter (or waitress) isn’t a nice person.” Do you agree?

How a person treats a waiter or waitress can reveal a lot about his or her character. There’s a concept called “The Waiter Test”. This test basically works by revealing an insight into a person’s true character based on how they treat restaurant waiters (or waitresses), or other customer service staff.

For example, during a dining outing, the waiter messes up your order. A kind and patient customer would remain in the positive zone by trying to understand the situation. The waiter may be overworked and tired. He probably didn’t make the mistake intentionally.

However, an arrogant and rude person wouldn’t miss the opportunity to scold the poor waiter. A person’s true colour is usually shown when he or she is hungry and angry. The easiest target is the waiter.


Now, bringing this into the context of parenting, we should ask ourselves, which type of personality would come out if we were to face a similar situation? Would we be the forgiving person or the angry one? Only we know the answer.

Perhaps at the beginning of our relationships, we display our best behaviour. But we must remember one thing. As we cruise into the comfortable phase of our life together, our masks may come off if we’re not genuinely kind to begin with. This is when we’ll witness a “kind” father turning into a monster, or a “caring” mother becoming an abuser.

We’ll not know for sure until we’re severely tested. The good news is that we can learn and practise to be kind. There’s no better place to start this than in our home. Treat our spouses and children more kindly.

Speak nicer words and use a lower tone. Smile often and laugh even more. Go all out to help them achieve their dreams. Serve them with a positive attitude and a caring heart. At the end of the day, these things could be our defining moments. We may look back with regret for not offering kindness to everyone — waiters included.

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