My name is Amanda, like many who read and write in The Odyssey I am an individual trying to find a voice and make a difference. I would always read articles on the Odyssey but I never believed I would be able to step out of my shell enough to write for a website that everyone looks at. Like many people my childhood was rocky and consisted of many barriers that could have prevented me from getting to where I am now. Since this is my first paper to the Odyssey I would like to make it a bit personal in all honesty, I mean you will be hearing from me for the years to come so why not get to know me a bit. I grew up in a small town and was a huge introvert due to my rough young childhood. Went through the typical awkward middle school phase, braces, frizzy hair, borderline poverty family, the whole deal. High school came around and my braces were removed, the nightmare from my childhood had left and I was looking towards the future. The town I grew up in never fit my personality or where I wanted to be in life and after an incident of bullying I was moved to a brand new high school towards the very end of my sophomore year. This new school was just the beginning phase of who I was going to grow up to be. Here is where it gets interesting or as I like to call it, here is where it begins to sound like a fairytale. On the first day of my new school I walked into my math class and saw that there was one empty desk in the dead middle of all football players. Little did I know one of them would end up being my first love as well as first heartbreak. We became the typical high school couple, he was a football player and I was a cheerleader. Right before my senior year started we decided to split due to the fact I was going to college soon and he did not want to tie me down. That heartbreak was a life event that I now believe needed to happen. The emotional toll this separation took on me made me begin pushing myself as hard as I ever have and still continue to do so to this day. Ever since I was in third grade I knew I wanted to go to Rollins and throughout high school I was not sure college was meant for me. I disliked school greatly and seemed to lack drive to go above and beyond my potential. If it wasn’t for him and other obstacles within my childhood showing me how strong of a woman I can be and the support of my mother I would not be here writing this little autobiography to you guys. Honestly, besides letting you guys in on a bit of my background I also wanted to make it known that if you went through a hard time or are currently going through one, it does not stay like that forever. Things do get better and there is always a lesson, whether good or bad that can be taken away from an experience.
Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,
I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?
Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?
Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?
The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.
So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.
Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.
Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.
Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"
Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.
Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.
Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.
Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.
If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.
If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.
If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.
As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.
I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.
As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.
1. Don't take things for granted
I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.
2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve
My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.
3. Be vulnerable
In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.
4. You can never have too many shoes
Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.
5. You're going to be okay
Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.
6. You have to have friends in life
It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.
7. Never be afraid to share your opinion
Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.
8. Don't stress over things you have no control over
Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.
9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise
My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.
10. S*** or get off the pot
My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.
Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.