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Adventures in Agenda-less Service



It was a joy serving with you all on this wet Berkeley Sunday. Our 98 guests were treated to a level of step-it-up generosity rarely achieved in these parts :) and as several commented in the closing circle, it made for a very special experience.

The spirit of the day was set early on with Bhoutik and Sharanya coming in on their off day :) to help set up the restaurant and give the new servers all-important orientations. While the rains kept the crowd away early in the day, they came in full force later. Soon it was a full house, and it took a team effort to keep up. Varsha was deftly managing as Interface, with Joanne, Minah and Sujeeth rolling with all of the punches that platers/D&D's typically face, such as a lack of spoons :) Meanwhile our bedrock all day was Phillip, a first-time volunteer who had some serious skills with the dishes. A deep bow of gratitude to you for your selfless work the entire day.

But as Philip reflected in the closing circle, this day wasn't about any individual, it was a true team effort. The key, as he pointed out, was a commitment to "agenda-less" service. Beth, who, along with Salma made up part of our superstar server trio, remarked how the spirit of the team was unlike anything she had experienced. A veteran of the non-profit world, also having practiced service for many years, she said stunningly, "In all my life, I have never had a service experience quite like this." Much of it has to do with our first-timers, who were all ringers. Praveen, a KK veteran and anchor of today's severs, remarked, "The credit really should be given to the first timers, 'cos they didn't seem like it. They did an awesome awesome job." Couldn't agree more.

A special highlight of the day was when, after finishing his/her meal, a guest sneakily placed their credit card in the bill folder with the request, "Please charge whatever amount of money you would like." Have you ever heard of that happening at a restaurant?!? But if that wasn't stunning enough, Praveen and Varsha go over the top of that: they charge no money to the card, and come back with another gift for the guest!
The day wrapped up with a group of 15 coming in to celebrate a birthday. Sensing the opportunity to tag the birthday girl in a special way, the crew comes out to the table, and together sings Happy Birthday. And after that, each one of us gives her a big birthday hug.

Just another page in the chapter of agenda-less service :)

--Maitre-D :) on Dec 5, 2010

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