After a long three days of travel I landed at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I was not looking forward to the three hour layover and just wanted to get home to Fort Myers (my winter home). I was cold, tired and hungry. The Longhorn sign was a welcome sight. I parked myself in the booth of the familiar eatery. At least when you eat at a chain, you know what to expect, right? My waitress was pleasant and accommodating. I enjoyed a wonderful meal; my favorite, baked salmon, rice and fresh broccoli. I ate slowly and enjoyed every morsel.
I had just finished two presentations in Wisconsin after which I sold books and cd’s at the book table. This time, a very nice looking woman handed me a crisp one hundred dollar bill for a twenty dollar purchase. Now, she was honest looking enough and, after all, it was a church where I was speaking, but you know, when you get a crisp one hundred dollar bill you have to wonder if it’s real. I don’t have one of those magic pens like they do at major department stores to detect counterfeit bills. I just had to trust that this lady wasn’t printing these things in her basement. I smiled at her, handed her eighty dollars in change and said a silent prayer.
Then I had a wonderful idea.
What if I blessed this overworked and underpaid waitress with this crisp one hundred dollar bill as a tip?
It might really make her day. She would tell all the other waitresses and bus boys and they would all wish they had seated me. I’d be the talk of the Detroit airport. They may even call the local television station and tell the story on the air. Maybe they would do a story in the local newspaper: “Little Italian stranger leaves one hundred dollar tip for waitress.”
I imagined exactly how it would all play out.
I’d leave the money in the fake leather wallet thingy and walk out of the restaurant. I’d hide behind a planter and wait for her to pick it up, because of course, I’d want to see her reaction. She would open the wallet and run to the waitress station and tell all the others of her good fortune. What if she has little kids at home? What if she has a sick kid at home? What if she is a single mom with a sick kid at home? What if she’s a single mom with a sick kid at home and they are about to foreclose on the house or repossess her car? That hundred dollar bill will surely come in handy. I smiled.
In the end I did leave her a good tip, however not the hundred dollar bill; I couldn’t do it. What if it was a counterfeit? I’d feel terrible.
Note to self: never eat fresh broccoli two hours before you board a packed flight.
Yvonne Conte is a corporate culture expert, motivational humorist, professional speaker, and coach. She has Humor Advantage, Inc. offices in Warners, NY, and Fort Myers, FL. Conte is also the author of six books including ‘Serious Laughter.’ Find more information online at www.yvonneconte.com