There's a customer at work who has kind of captured my imagination. He breezes in, makes a very specific small request, consumes what he has gotten, and breezes out again leaving a crisp new twenty on the table each and every time (on a check that is always for less than half that amount). I'll refer to him therefore as Mr. Jackson (not his real name).
I want to know what Mr. Jackson's deal is! He's a young guy, not terribly good-looking but not ugly either, pleasant but not chatty the way some guests are, and he seems well-off but utterly lacking in pretention. If it weren't for the fact that he is such an outstandingly good tipper I probably wouldn't pay him much notice one way or the other, but as it is I'm all atwitter with curiousity. Why such a great tipper? I mean obviously he can afford it, but the vast majority of the folks we see at The Ritz are in the "1%" or they wouldn't be staying there, and most of them tip in the standard 15-20% range for good service. Once in a while when it's a special occasion or they are marking the end of a long stay someone will tip like Mr. Jackson, but he does it EVERY SINGLE DAY and it is always a brand-new, pristine twenty-dollar bill (I've been fortunate enough to have him in my section for several days in a row). One day I was up by the exit returning some menus to the hostess as he was going to leave, and I saw him heading for the door and said "have a great day, Mr. Jackson!" and he looked up and said "OH! I almost forgot!" and ran back to his table to leave the twenty on it. He looked rather distressed by the idea of "forgetting," like he would have spent the day beating himself up about it if he'd gotten all the way out the door. But...WHY?
If Mr. Jackson's goal is to make sure that I remember him and what he is going to ask for, he's certainly accomplished it (although it's honestly no more than I do for any regular customer), but it's not as if he asks for something really unusual or hard to provide. Does he do this every time he comes into contact with a service professional? Is it part of a "kindness project" of some sort, where he just wants to uplift our weary spirits? Is he the smalltown-boy-made-good son of a waitress who therefore has a soft spot for servers? WHAT MAKES THIS GUY TICK? It's kind of killing me, and I'm tempted to ask him about it, but I don't want to make it weird for him.
I'm going to miss Mr. Jackson when his stay is over!