Let’s Do Lunch

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - April 16, 2008
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It’s been my habit, for some years now, that if I see a customer or employee of ours eating in the same restaurant as I am, I will pick up the tab. If it’s for an employee I don’t expense it, the payment comes from my own pocket. It’s a small gesture of my appreciation for what they do.

It doesn’t happen too often and I am happy to do it. Most of the time this occurs at restaurants near our workplace, which a lot of us frequent for lunch. Of course, one of the most popular is a family-run Chinese restaurant. The place is packed at lunchtime because the food is good and prices reasonable.

As for lunch there, I usually go in, make a takeout order and go back to my office to eat. The other day I was famished but had tons of work to complete, so I decided to make my lunch run to the Chinese restaurant.

When I stepped up to the counter to place my order, out of the corner of my eye I saw a couple of employees in a booth having lunch. That’s my other signature in doing this, I pay for their lunch without them knowing so a big deal isn’t made about it.

Before placing my order, I told the cashier that I would be picking up their entire check. She said something to their server in Chinese and produced the bill. Someone from the table was going to the restroom and realized what I was doing. He said there was no need to do that.

I was already committed to doing it, so I insisted. The cashier told me the total for the bill and I made one of those cartoon double-takes. She said that the party included two other booths. I looked and sure enough, they were all employees, now waving at me in thanks.

I forked over the cash, and while it was way more than I expected, I convinced myself that I was doing the right thing. The cashier then asked me what I wanted to order. I looked at her and then at the coin change in my hand and half-joking said, “Do you guys sell Pop Tarts?”

 

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