The scent of fried food and cooked steak engulfed me as I walked through the double doors to the kitchen. My attire was simple: blue jeans, long-sleeve black button up shirt and a forest green apron. The slight smile from the hostess was a subtle, almost imperceptible cue that this could be a long Sunday morning shift.
It was the calm before the storm as I waited for the church rush to come in.
The joys of being a restaurant server.
I make small talk with my colleagues, wondering how bad the church customers were going to be this week.
We reminisced about the dozens of pastor business cards and salvation tracts that had been left as a replacement tip. Embarrassment and anger sat heavy on my heart as I tried to explain that not all of us with the Christian faith act in such mindless ways.
Yes, I had the pleasure of being in both camps—being a server, often assumed to be not a Christian by the church crowd, and as a Christian, assumed to be a jerk by the other servers.
But still, I was both.
A $2.13 hourly server rate was the death of me some weeks. I hated depending on the general public, especially on Sundays.
Sunday brunch was the most loathsome meal of the week.
We looked at social media on our cell phones while gazing at the clocks in front of us, waiting for the first wave of churchgoers to come around noon. I sighed as they slowly trickled in, family by family, couple by couple, group by group. I projected my cynical thoughts on each party.
The loud group over there—must be Pentecostal.
Those hipsters—must be from the megachurch.
Shirts and ties—Episcopalians.
I masked my cynicism with a smile, served their meals, cleared their dishes, grabbed the check and walked straight to the kitchen.
Another terrible tip.
Halfway through my shift, I recognized a local worship pastor from one of the larger churches. I had only been to that church once, but I never forgot his face after enjoying their service a few months previous.