Yesterday on the way home from Blog Cabin Trisha and I decided to take a break and have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at The Summit in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the midway point and even though we arrived around 4:15 we still wanted to have “dinner” and then finish the last 5 hours of our drive. Since I had never been to a Cheesecake Factory I was super excited to check it out.
We got a table relatively quickly even though the place was packed. After about 10 minutes of waiting I went to the hostess to ask if we had a waitress. Turned out to be the lady we saw “stuck” talking to another patron – we didn’t know she was our waitress but we had seen her trying to get away from the lady talking to her unsuccessfully. No biggie. She took our order, all was good. The manager came by to apologize for the delay. No worries…. we were just starving and 5 hours into a 10 hour drive. We all laughed.
A few minutes later the appetizers arrived and they were DELICIOUS. I mean like best fried zucchini on the planet. But then…. 45 minutes went by. No meals. We asked, waitress said she would check. A few minutes later she returned with another manager and said “you guys are going to hate me.”
Turned out that she missed a step in putting in the orders for our meal so they never made it to the kitchen. The poor waitress apologized profusely. The manager did as well and offered free cheesecake. Another 20 minutes and we were served a delicious meal which makes me wish I lived closer. As we paid our tab the waitress said “please do not tip me a penny – I would feel terrible. I am so very sorry.” I told her not to be silly, that things happen, and I finished with “who knows what you may have saved us from out there on the road.”
Two hours after the time we stopped “for a quick bite to eat” we were back on the road heading home. I dropped Trisha off at her house in Mobile and headed to Pensacola. As I topped the hill in Mobile all I could see were flashing lights in the tunnel. I sat in traffic for nearly a half an hour while the police and ambulances cleaned up an accident inside.
I don’t know if the food had come out on time if I would have been in that tunnel when the accident happened, but I know that had things not happened just exactly the way they did, I might very well have been one of those cars demolished in the tunnel, or one of the people in the car being whisked away in an ambulance.
We all have a choice about how we react to any given situation. In the past I would have been a raging lunatic having to wait an hour and a half for a meal. Yesterday, however, I chose to not get angry, not get flustered, and who knows what that might have actually saved me from. What was one more hour, really?
To the waitress at the Cheesecake Factory I’d actually say thanks. Thanks for missing a step in ordering and making SURE I wasn’t in that tunnel when that accident happened. Thanks to the managers who came by and apologized making our time feel important and showing you really care about your business and your job.
I believe that your experience of anything is 90% your attitude about it, and 10% what actually happened. Our actions and reactions to the things we cannot control can make all of the difference. I could have gotten irate, stormed out of the restaurant, made the waitress feel horrible for her mistake, and totally let one small incident ruin my entire drive. Instead I just rolled with it, laughed about how it takes Trisha and I 14 hours to make a 9 hour drive, and arrived safely at home… late, but safe… unlike those in the tunnel before me.
Only you can trust your actions – or reactions – to everything that happens in life. And sometimes you have to stop and realize that everything happens for a reason, and in the end it all works out for the best.