By in Travel

An Unexpected Rose

Yesterday we went to Ventura on business . These trips are always exhausting and throw my body off-schedule, since they affect when I get up, how much water I can drink before and during a long car trip, and what and when I can eat. Yesterday we left on the nose of 9:30 AM (my usual rising time.) We hit our normal rest stop, Trader Joe's in Santa Maria, at 10:30. We stop there because they also serve coffee samples and also some kind of food sample. We stretch our legs and use the restrooms. Then back on the road.

We arrived in Ventura at our building about 12:45 for our 1:00 appointment. It lasted until 3:15 and we were starved. We usually don’t eat again until we get to Hometown Buffet in Santa Maria, but we were starved and Santa Maria was two hours away. We decided to go to Sizzler in Ventura, instead. I hadn't realized there was still one there. Many have shut down.

We ordered our meals. We both got steaks, but I had broccoli and salad bar with mine, and Kosta had sweet potato fries and a dinner salad. When my meal came, I noticed the streamed broccoli looked pretty brown – not too fresh. So I sent it back and traded for fries, and they were perfect. It was a much better experience than Hometown Buffet, except for the desserts. The atmosphere was quieter, and the salad bar was fresh with some interesting choices.

Our service was excellent. We got talking to our waiter, who had cheerfully taken my broccoli back to the kitchen and brought me my fries. He had also taken care of a second salad bar plate and offered us drink refills. His name was Sal, and he was from . He said his wife was visiting her family there. I asked if he was worried about her, considering the situation in the Middle East right now. He said the people there just take the violence in stride. His wife said she wasn't concerned because the latest bombing was five villages away. That kind of blew my mind.

He then explained that these civil wars recur about every fifteen years. People of all religions and ethnic backgrounds will live peacefully side by side for a long time with no animosity. Then some outside agitator comes in and stirs things up and civil war breaks out. That was the same thing the did in , but they made it seem as though it was an ethnic war between Serbs and Croats, and it was reported that way. In reality, it was two groups of Communists struggling for power. We know because my husband had family there on both sides.

Most people want to live in peace, and then suddenly, a war breaks out because of someone coming in from somewhere else. There is always someone somewhere that doesn't care who suffers, as long as they gain influence or power.

We finished our conversation and Sal went to another table. Soon he returned and handed me the rose you see in the photo. He must have made it from foil. I was touched. Nothing like that had ever happened to me in a restaurant before. Later he came back and handed me a business card asking us to take a survey to win a gift card for Sizzler. He said if I was happy with his service, to please let them know, since the restaurant would soon be under new management. I think he wanted to keep his job.

After I post this, I will go take the survey and give him a good recommendation. He did give us excellent service. I believe in giving credit where it is due. How about you?

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » I took the photo

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JanetJenson wrote on August 9, 2014, 2:21 AM

I tend to give people good evaluations when they are doing a good job. I have worked at jobs before where happy customer comments resulted in an easier life at work, so I try to help people out.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 2:40 AM

You have always struck me as a helpful person.

bestwriter wrote on August 9, 2014, 3:11 AM

i had to look at the rose twice as the stem was up. :). That is not important whether it took me time to appreciate the rose but the gesture was indeed good. Hope you will give him a good rating.

MegL wrote on August 9, 2014, 3:52 AM

An unexpected rose in posts too! Agitators not caring who gets hurt are common everywhere, stir up strife, then move on to the next place!

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 4:22 AM

There actually wasn't a place to specifically rate him, but I did rate the service as excellent and that had the time of day there.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 4:24 AM

Stirring up strife does seem to be a universal phenomenon. Am I just noticing it more since I am aging? Or is it increasing?

MegL wrote on August 9, 2014, 5:27 AM

I agree there seems to be more but in my case, I believe it is due to the fact that I now understand more than I did when I was younger. I always used to wonder how certain people "saw" what I did not in situations or happenings but as I get older, I think I begin to see more of the context or to understand more of the background. I used to believe that "conspiracy theorists" saw what was not there, now I am not so sure.

Scorpie wrote on August 9, 2014, 6:14 AM

There are few things in this world as pleasurable as interacting with a person who is good at their job. Of all the places I have eaten in my life there is one waiter who stands out as a professional. Fortunately he works in town. We give him a 100 tip each Christmas. This guy is so good that if he changes establishments the customers follow him.

vserrao1 wrote on August 9, 2014, 9:54 AM

It is always nice to have a waiter who will talk about themselves so that you can get a connection to the staff and the whole establishment.

inertia4 wrote on August 9, 2014, 11:14 AM

BarbRad That was a real enjoyable story. It seems that your waiter was not just nice and courteous, but he was talented as well. it's not easy to make a rose out of foil like that.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 12:45 PM

Those are the ones that deserve those big tips. We were also generous with this waiter.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 12:49 PM

When our Hometown Buffet first opened in San Luis Obispo, they had excellent help and management. Everyone know everyone. We had a favorite waitress and service manager. Even the customers were friendly toward each other. One day we came in and the manager was gone. The next time our favorite service manager was gone, evidently, according to the waitress, with cause.The manager had been a victim of internal politics. About the only thing that kept us loyal customers under the new management was the waitress. Now she is retired to move closer to her kids and grandkids. She did tell us ahead she would be leaving. Now it's just a place to eat.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 12:53 PM

The restaurant was almost empty at that hour. We came in at the end of the lunch special, about 3:40. Lunch crowds were gone and the dinner crowd wasn't there yet. He probably had some time on his hands. Who knows? Maybe he has a bunch of that foil in the waiters area and makes them to alleviate boredom when there's no one that needs anything.

Feisty56 wrote on August 9, 2014, 3:00 PM

What a sweet gesture that was on Sal's part. Yes, I like to give positive feedback whenever I can. Far too many people are happy to complain, but fewer to give credit where it's due.

vserrao1 wrote on August 9, 2014, 5:20 PM

In time that place will lose its loyal clientele. When a restaurant gets to that point, it will eventually go out of business.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 6:25 PM

I really enjoy being able to make someone's day with a kind word or two. I keep reading those stories that circulate around the internet about people who were on their way to kill themselves when someone spoke some kind words to them and made them realize all wasn't hopeless after all.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on August 9, 2014, 8:01 PM

I haven't eaten at a Sizzler in years. There used to be a lot of steak houses like that in my area, and then it seemed like the ones that remained all became more geared toward buffets like Ryan's and Golden Corral. They still serve steaks, but it's not the same.

inertia4 wrote on August 9, 2014, 8:58 PM

BarbRad You never know. But it is quite nice and a nice thing to do for you. It is not easy finding waiters like that. But they do exist.

BarbRad wrote on August 9, 2014, 11:52 PM

I love Golden Corral. We ate at one in North Platte and loved it.

paigea wrote on August 10, 2014, 2:05 PM

I believe in giving credit where it's due. I have always believed everyone just wants to live their peaceful life.

BarbRad wrote on August 10, 2014, 4:30 PM

I have believed that most people, unless they are of a criminal or evil mindset, do, too. It suppose those who have the criminal and evil minds are the ones that come in to stir up violence.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 12, 2014, 3:43 AM

I'm always happy when I have an opportunity to "catch" someone doing a good job and "report" it to their employer. I do hope this waiter is appreciated by both his current employer, and the new management :)

BarbRad wrote on August 12, 2014, 12:07 PM

I hope so too. And I hope his family remains safe during their visit to Lebanon to see family.