Recently while listening to satellite radio, I heard a report about a web forum where waiters and waitresses go to vent. I found the site, and it is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is so vulgar I will not be linking it here. There is a list of good and bad celebrity tippers, and frightening stories of revenge taken by servers on rude, obnoxious customers. Trust me when I tell you, you donâ€™t want to be rude or obnoxious; you donâ€™t want to know what they might do to your food.
A little searching took me to this forum
, where Christian waiters and waitresses share their stories. Sadly, one of their biggest complaints was about the attitudes and tipping behavior of the Sunday after-church lunch crowd. I had seen similar complaints on some of the frightening secular sites I visited. There is a wide-spread perception in the service industry of Christians as rude, obnoxious bad tippers. So I imagine the dread with which those in the service and hospitality industries in Greensboro are approaching the coming week.
As a former minor-league umpire who lived for months at a time dependent on the service of waiters, waitress, and hotel employees, I learned a deep appreciation for these folks. Many are students, working to pay their way through school, but many are also dedicated professionals who have committed themselves to a career of serving the needs of others. Whatever their situation, they deserve our respect, and our generosity.
The minimum wage for tipped employees in North Carolina is $2.13/hour. Tipping is not an extra we do as a favor; most depend on the tips they receive to pay their bills. It is my conviction that a 15% tip should be the absolute baseline, except in cases where a server is overtly rude to me, and that has only happened to me on one occasion. I normally tip in the 20% range.
It is a truth that perception is reality (if you don't believe me, ask Bowden
). Next week in Greensboro, perceptions will be formed of Christianity by those in the service industry, and they will be formed on the basis of our treatment of them. We will be representing our respective churches as we vote in the Greensboro Coliseum; we will be representing Jesus Christ everywhere we go. Knowing the expectations that must accompany the anticipation of upwards of 10,000 Southern Baptists invading their hotels and restaurants, imagine the eternal difference that might be made in so many lives by unexpected kindness and generosity.
So my challenge to my fellow Southern Baptists attending the convention is this: Be unexpectedly kind. Be liberal, not in your theology, but in your tipping. I would hate to read about you next week in one of those forums I mentioned. Even more, Iâ€™d hate to know that someone may have spit in your burgerâ€¦