What I Know About …Kindness

A little kindness goes a long way! I made a new and unexpected friend yesterday through a very unique set of circumstances. My new friend’s name is Ashley. She’s a beautiful young woman, who’s charming, personable and understands the power of kindness.

This is a great story, friends.

If you’ve never had the fish tacos and homemade salsa at Loco Patron, I highly recommend it! The food is so fantastic. Eating there is a “must” for myself and my out of town guests every time we meet in Arizona. Loco Patron has been a standing tradition for us – 12 years strong now. We talk about how amazing it will be to sit together, feasting on the homemade chips and salsa and their unique lobster, mahi-mahi and shrimp tacos.

Last night, was no exception, and yet, it was.

We arrived at our favored destination and entered through the back door. Went to our favorite booth and settled in, The live music was in full motion, the familiar sights and smells welcoming us home, once again. We anxiously waited for our waitress to greet us with a basket of warm chip and fresh salsa. It’s almost like getting a beautifully wrapped box on your birthday!

When our waitress arrived, she quickly asked, “Do you have your wristbands? I don’t see your wristbands.” —What wristbands? We’d never been asked to purchase wristbands before in the past. This was new.

She then explained the restaurant was reserved for a private party in conjunction with a fund raising event. –We had no idea! The waitress adamantly told us we’d need to leave, to which we respectfully agreed to do.

As we approached the front door, I asked the event coordinator (who was screening for wristbands) what organization he was supporting. He told us they were raising money for several local charities which support the less fortunate children of Phoenix. We were so impressed by all he shared, that we offered to make a donation. In return, we told him that we’d been asked to leave since we weren’t apart of his designated group. “No – You’re contributing, you can stay!” he replied.

We returned to our booth and all was right in the world again.

Once again, we anxiously sat down and proceeded to wait — and wait — and wait.

The waitress who was originally assigned to our booth walked by and ignored us. I realized that she must not have realized that we were invited us to stay. I walked across the entire restaurant and shared what had transpired. She continued to ignore us – taking beers to the neighboring table, and allowed us to sit there again, for an unreasonable amount of time. We couldn’t believe what was happening! Really, …. did she think I’d made this up and that we were being defiant “party crashers.”

Finally, Ashley noticed that we weren’t being served and walked over to our booth. “Have you ladies been helped yet?” No. We again repeated the details. We were approved guests – had made a financial contribution, and had been invited to stay. Could we please have drinks, and some chips and salsa.

Ashley stepped into action like a real professional. She was warm, helpful, engaging and prompt in getting us cold drinks and warm food. She returned to our table several times to make small talk, and also to ensure our drinks were full, and the food was to our liking. While Ashley may have believed that she was simply doing her job, what she really was doing was going above and beyond the call of duty both; as an employee of the restaurant – and in also being a thoughtful human being.

Shortly into evening, the event coordinator came to our table, sat down and wanted to hear all about where we’re from, and how Loco Patron had become apart of our annual tradition. We laughed and exchanged stories with him as if we’d all be lifelong friends.

What could have been a sour experience turned into a warm and delightful exchange because of Ashley and Daniel’s kindness toward us.

As we prepared to leave, we all agreed that Ashley was the star of the evening.

It was so fun to visit with her during our meal and she was so delightful; treating us with such courtesy. We all dipped into our wallets and grabbed a $20 bill for Ashley. When she returned to retrieved our signed Visa slips, we extended our hands toward her, fanning the $20 bills in her direction. She was speechless — and almost started to cry. While the gift of our generous tip far exceeded the customary 20% tip, it was such a pleasure for us to recognize and appreciate her for her extraordinary measures of kindness.

Kindness, my friends. It’s such a valuable gift which requires so little effort, and yet, brings about so much goodness to those whom we meet each and every day.

Thanks, Ashley!