Surprise - Delivered

How do you  surprise someone? Well, it has to be surprising. "Unexpected" is another way to describe it. This is exactly what happened at the end of a long day this week. Every table, except one with a party of six has left the building and the restaurant was ready to close. Everyone was cleaning, last few dishes remained and clean glasses sat out waiting to dry. It was fairly quiet, even with the last table chatting and background music still playing. Guests at the last table looked satisfied - sights like this indicate we are getting close to the time to relax. Well, today turned out to be different when I heard a loud "Come Here!".


The loud exclamation was profound in the now empty restaurant. It scared the soul out of me. It took a moment to process, and make a decision how to react to such a request. In hospitality business "the customer is always right", at least this is what some people much smarter than me say. Instinctively, the tone of the request or rather a command built my expectation and prepared me to listen to a complaint. It seemed impossible that anything might have gone wrong with the food, approaching the table, it was evident that all plates were clean. All wine glasses were empty, and they didn't have that much wine to be drunk anyway.


The lady exclaimed again "Come Here", in a slightly more individualized tone as I got closer, as if to let me know for sure, the command was specifically for me. "Who else?" - I thought. Well well, lets listen, at this point it could be a thousand things. The lady began seriously and confidently, with enough volume to let her party hear what she has to say.


"Let me tell you something" she said looking me straight in the eyes.


"This fish sandwich" was followed by a long enough pause to make me start picking a few different possibilities of what it could have been.


"was the best fish sandwich I had in my life!" This is how you deliver a surprise. She finished it with a huge smile and a tight hug which I could not get out of. I didn't even know how to respond, the surprise worked as intended. It quickly began to feel like a round of applause from everyone because all guests looked at this with a loud smile. I had to produce a response, but a simple "Thank You" or "You're Welcome" would not have been appropriate, the weight of the surprise demanded something else to balance it out.


"Well, I am glad you enjoyed your sandwich" - I said, and at that point more compliments continued to be delivered.


Surprises like this are hard to get. Not everyone knows how to or even wants to deliver them. Perhaps people are shy? And it feels like its becoming easier for people to vocalize a complaint over gratitude. Simple "Thank You"s became increasingly common, often seen synonymous with "Bye" or "See ya" or whatever else is expressed by the person's emotion, body language, and their face.


Next time you're thinking to express yourself, before you say "Thank You", try to add some detail - It might surprise you.