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  Service Stars

A waiter who discovered someone else’s mistake and corrected it immediately

Satisfactory customer service is seldom memorable. What is memorable is poor service and service that goes the extra mile. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to change a routine customer service experience into one we will recall months later, we will tell others about and will cause us to become repeat customers. Those who do those little extras are truly Service Stars.

It began as a typical dining out experience with our grandchildren and their mother at their favourite restaurant, the Olive Garden on Edmonton’s Gateway Boulevard.  After studying the children’s menu, Paige, our three-year-old granddaughter – your classic picky eater – decided on the chicken fingers with broccoli. 

From the time we sat down, the waiter, Rueben, provided satisfactory service.  He was pleasant, smiled often, visited with the kids and commented positively about our menu choices.  Soon after we had placed our order, he set a bowl of the restaurant’s signature salad and bread sticks on the table – Paige’s favourite.

Immediately, Paige began to fill up on salad.  When her order arrived, she nibbled on a piece of chicken for a moment before asking that her salad dish be refilled from the bowl in the middle of the table.

By the time everyone else had finished their meals, Paige still had a plate of chicken fingers and broccoli in front of her.  Her mother asked for a doggy bag.   A great fan of tiramisu, but full after her own meal, she also asked for a piece of this Italian dessert to go. 

Minutes later, Rueben returned with a single styrofoam container.  Before Paige’s mother could ask, he explained that before he could tell the busboy that the uneaten child’s meal was to be boxed,the busboy had thrown it into the garbage bin.

But – and this is where Rueben elevated his service from satisfactory to exceptional – once he had learned of this error, he had requested that the kitchen staff prepare another child’s meal . . . to go.

“It will only take a moment,” he promised.  And true to his word, he returned minutes later with a very warm styrofoam container holding what would become Paige’s lunch the next day – or so her mother hoped.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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