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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Two women at a Texas Denny's realized it was short-staffed so they jumped in and started cooking

'We just looked at each other and it wasn't even a question. We both knew what we had to do.'

Courtesy of Sylvia Arrendondo

Strangers help restaurant serve customers.

We've all been there. Standing in line to be seated at a fairly busy restaurant while your stomach growls in protest. But when two women left a concert August 22 in search of food, they had no idea they'd find themselves taking orders and cooking food. Sylvia Arrendondo and her mother Idalia Merkel went to a local Denny's in Texas and were seated by another customer before realizing the restaurant was extremely short-staffed. Instead of taking their business elsewhere, they decided to roll up their sleeves and get to work.



Arrendondo wrote about the unique experience on her Facebook page where she explained that only two people were working. One was serving tables and the other was the cook. As for the man that was acting as host, seating new guests, he had no idea what he was doing because he didn't work there. He told Arrendondo and Merkel that his wife used to work at Denny's so she started helping to serve tables and he decided to help get people seated.

Idalia Merkel helping cook.

Courtesy of Sylvia Arrendondo

The service industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent "great resignation." Complaints about low wages, poor management and rude customers that abuse staff members are just a few of the reasons cited by people who have left the industry. It may be surprising for some to learn that the federal minimum wage for tipped employees like servers and bussers is just $2.13 an hour. The rest of the wage is supposed to be made up of tips, which, depending on where you work, may be split at the end of the night between other workers. This act of splitting tips is called "tip pooling" and is calculated by number of hours worked.

Splitting tips after a long day of work dealing with customers who may not have been so kind would understandably make some people upset. But it didn't take a deep dive on the treatment of restaurant employees for Arrendondo and the other customers who helped out. They saw two seemingly college-aged kids doing their best to keep the place running and they didn't hesitate to jump in to help, completely unpaid.

When asked why she didn't just leave, Arrendondo said, "We just looked at each other and it wasn't even a question. We both knew what we had to do."

"This was probably the most beautiful act of American unity that I have personally encountered," Arrendondo told Upworthy. She added that the sole paid server would occasionally start to cry before being comforted by the cook, only to return the favor when he would get overwhelmed.

Talk about community.

These two kids had exhausted all of their resources, including calling their manager multiple times. And instead of customers getting angry, demanding better service or walking away, Arredondo and Merkel stepped up. The kindness of this group of strangers will surely stick with these employees and the people who were involved.

"The strength, courage and integrity by these two workers was beyond admirable. My mom and I have never been so proud and happy to help," Arrendondo told Upworthy. "After all, we have all been there."

Eventually after some convincing, the two employees shut the restaurant down and Arrendondo and Merkel went home much more tired than anticipated. Still hungry, but full of gratitude and pride.


This article originally appeared on 08.26.22

Spring Bowlin was doing a little shopping on her lunch break when she saw something that might make even the most patient of us groan.

As she got in line to check out, Bowlin recalled in a Facebook post, the older gentleman in front of her pulled a handful of change from his pocket to pay for his items and began to slowly ... count ... the ... coins.

Visibly flustered by the line growing behind him, full of potentially impatient shoppers, the man fumbled the change, lost count, and had to start again, according to Bowlin. The man only grew embarrassed and more frantic.


If you're imagining an aggravated cashier pointedly drumming her fingers waiting for the man to finish, well ... you'd be wrong.

Bowlin, watching from her place in line, praised the "beautiful cashier" who stepped in to put the man at ease.

"This beautiful cashier takes his hands and dumps all the change on the counter and says, 'This is not a problem, honey. We will do this together.'"

The man was incredibly apologetic to the cashier and Bowlin, who waited patiently for him to finish his transaction, reassuring him that it was no bother at all. When Bowlin stepped up to the counter herself, she thanked the cashier for being so patient with the man.

It's no wonder Bowlin's post has since racked up thousands of shares and comments from people moved by such a simple act of kindness:

My heart was warmed at Wal-Mart during lunch.This gentleman's items were scanned and he was given the total. He looks...

Posted by Spring Herbison Bowlin on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Studies have made it clear: Being in a hurry really hurts our ability to empathize with or feel compassion for others.

Raise your hand if you've ever been irritated by a traffic jam caused by a car crash in which someone might have been hurt or if you've ever grown frustrated as the person in front of you in line at the grocery store pulled out a wad of coupons (or a pocketful of change).

It's simple human nature, but experts encourage putting a little effort and mindfulness into paying attention to when being in a rush may be clouding our judgment.

The overwhelming response to Bowlin's post proves that compassion matters and can make a big difference, even in small doses.

As the cashier told Bowlin, "What's wrong with our world is we've forgotten how to love one another."

Now that's a message worth spreading far and wide.