The 12 Top Table

Thursday night . . .

Jaden, a waiter at Olive Garden, is dressed in all black, apron included, with a green button pinned onto his shirt with his name labeled on it. He is in the back of Olive Garden finishing up a cup of coffee before starting his 2nd shift today.

Summer just ended and he spent it bartending in Okoboji, traveling to Miami, New York, and Chicago, and singing in the music building on campus to relax. With school just starting up, he doesn’t normally work weeknights, but he had Thursday off and decided that he can pick up a double shift. Not working at Olive Garden over the summer, he’s not completely on top of his Olive Garden serving game.

The night is slow¬†until a 12 top table shows up. They are seated in Jaden’s section and immediately be feels a mix of panic and jitters. Jitters he’s assuming from the coffee kicking in, and panic to make this new 12 top table feel welcomed and that his other tables feel that they have his attention.

He goes to the 12 top table greets them and attends to them. Along with the a smaller table that he knows will probably feel left out. The smaller table is understanding of his position from also working in the food business.

Worn-out from the previous shift, earlier today, he still has a smile on his face and continues his job. Customers are seated and chattering about their day, while waiters and waitresses do the same in the back, the cooks banter back and forth as they finish up the meals. Jaden’s food for the 12 top table finishs in waves, so, as the meals are finished he brings the food out, with the help of his co-workers. He serves his other tables as well, topping off their drinks, attending to them as needed. He’s getting back into the swing of things.

The 12 top table leaves happy and a $40 tip. The other table leaves content with their tip on the table and compliments his service as they leave. Jaden is relieved for a good night and his shift at Olive Garden is coming to an end and a new day of school awaits him.


  1. This is pretty good, Diane, but having no experience as a waiter, I don’t know exactly what a 12-top table is. I’m assuming it means 12 people, but that would make $40 kind of a sucky tip. More dialogue would be cool. I’d like to hear banter and side conversations.

Speak Your Mind