Staff at a Maine hotel restaurant recently received a surprise apology and very generous tip after a profane outburst from a customer.
The anonymous and "embarrassed" customer of the Union Bluff Hotel wrote a letter last week saying he was "sincerely sorry" for cursing at employees attending the host stands in the hotel's lobby.
The letter, first shared with the Facebook group Seacoast Eats, reads:
Can you please give this $100 along with my apology to the girl who was at the hostess station/podium taking names to be seated for dinner on Monday July 5th at around 5-6 p.m. I was very rude to her - which is out of character for me -I have way more respect for people than I showed that day. Pre-dinner cocktails before getting to the Bluff may have contributed--No excuse…
When our large party was having difficult being seated and the wait was longer than I thought -- I said, loudly.. "this is b*** to her" and I left. I feel bad. This is coming from a guy who tells people to be kind to service staff and tip big, post-pandemic -how hypocritical.
I will apologize to her in person the next time I am in York. I have been going to York every year for the 4th of July week with my family for over 25 years.
You never want to be "that guy" and that day I was "that guy" - sincerely sorry -
Tammy Ramsey, one of the hostesses who received $50 of the tip money, said she suspected that she assisted the unruly customer.
"I read the letter and got goose bumps. I read it again and was like, that's really cool," she said.
Ramsey recalled in an interview with NECN and NBC10 Boston affiliate NEWS CENTER Maine that she'd had a customer who had a roughly 90-minute wait: "It came up close to an hour and a half, we'd told him it would be five more minutes, we're just going to clear a table, he's like, 'You're kidding me, this is b-------.'"
Unfortunately, Ramsey said, interactions like this are not all that uncommon.
"They may bother you a little bit but it rolls right off your back," she explained.
"Kudos to him for saying, 'I had a bad day.' The fact he had a couple drinks -- it wasn't an excuse, it never is," she added.
Ramsey's advice to restaurant customers is to "pretty much be nice, be patient, understanding and put yourself in their shoes. Restaurants are all understaffed."
Asked about tips to de-escalate such anger-filled situations, Hannah Longley, a licensed clinical social worker and director of community programs at NAMI Maine, said there are a few ways to calm yourself down without much effort.
"Recognizing you're escalating is always really important," she said.
Other tips include "allowing yourself to take some space" and drinking water.
"Water is a huge one," she explained. "By drinking water you're cueing to your brain or body that it doesn't have to be in that survival, escalated mode."
Of the situation in York, she said, "I think it's incredibly powerful this individual reflected on the event and then was able to have the ego, strength and compassion, humility to reach back out to say, 'I'm sorry, I made a mistake.'"