I recently spent a few days in Miami Beach. One of the highlights of my trip was the service I received at a little street-side café. All I had was a $12 burger and a glass of water. I asked for the burger with no bun (I don’t eat refined carbs) and no onion like I always do. Ten minutes later, the burger arrived encased in a bun and garnished with onion. No biggie. I just put the bun and onion on the extra plate and pushed it to the side. The burger was delicious. I was very impressed with the place: elegant atmosphere, delicious food, fabulous prices for a resort community.
The waitress came over a moment later and noticed my discarded bun. She apologized profusely and took it away. She came back several times during the meal to check on me, each time apologizing for the erroneous bun. This is over the top, I thought. Why are they making such a fuss over a bun? Next thing I knew, the manager came over. He apologized for the bun and said, “This is not acceptable. We want to make it up to you. How about a complimentary glass of champagne?” I told him he was crazy, that everything was wonderful and there was no need. But he insisted, and I accepted. Moments later, he arrived with a chilled glass and presented me with a new bottle of champagne as if I were paying $500 for it.
I shared this story with my husband that evening. He said they are probably accustomed to demanding people in Miami Beach and just wanted to be proactive. I could have been a scout for Madonna or someone for all they knew, and they wanted to make sure to send the right message. None of that mattered to me. What mattered was that they made me feel like I mattered.
How often does it happen in the course of our lives that random people make us feel important for no reason at all, other than that we exist? Maybe it happens to Madonna, but not me. I’m just an average person living an average life. But in that moment, at that little café, I was the center of the universe. It was a wonderful feeling that stuck with me for a long time.
Now I hope you aren’t thinking, what is wrong with this woman, doesn’t she have any friends or family? I do, and I know I matter to them. I guess it was the total randomness of the experience that hit me. Like kindness in unexpected places. I hope that the people at that restaurant know that their gesture mattered to me.
I like to think I help people recognize that they matter every day. That’s what therapists do. I guess my wish for the world is that every one of us gets to feel like they matter to someone. Both in a rockstar kind of way like I experienced on my trip, and the more day-to-day “you know I love you even if I don’t say it” kind of way.
Because you do matter.
I just want you to know that.