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Restaurant hostess gets $100 tip from rude, unruly customer — and a note that gave her 'goosebumps'

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Image source: WUSA-TV video screenshot

Everyone has seen a rude restaurant patron treating an establishment's hosting and wait staff poorly.

We cringe. We empathize. We tell our kids to never act that way. And we tell ourselves that we're pretty sure we would never be "that guy."

But sometimes we slip up. So what should a person do when that happens?

One man who let his frustration get the better of him while waiting for a seat at a favorite Maine eatery offered a powerful lesson on what to do when you mess up, when you find yourself being "that guy": Own your mistake and make amends.

And one hostess reaped a nice $100 benefit from the customer's personal conviction.

What happened?

Tammy Ramsey works as a hostess at Union Bluff Hotel in York, Maine, and often has to deal with rude customers; she considers it part of the job, she said during a News Center Maine report that aired on WUSA-TV.

"I've been doing this for so many years," she said. "Not so much goes through my head. I just try to make the customers happy, and if I can't make them happy, I smile at them and say, 'I'm sorry I can't do anything else.'"

And on July 5, she apparently had a particularly unruly guest, and though she said she can't remember exactly who it was, the guest himself sure remembered — and he was ashamed.

So he did something about it.

He sent a sincere letter of apology and a $100 tip for Ramsey to the Union Bluff Hotel, WUSA reported this week.

Ramsey was floored.

"I got the goosebumps and was like 'really?'" she told the outlet. "And I read it again, and I was like, 'That's really cool.'"

The letter, signed "an embarrassed customer," detailed the customer's lament and shame for his behavior, sought reconciliation, made amends, and offered no excuses.

"Can you please give this $100.00, along with my apology to the girl who was at the hostess station/podium taking names to be seated for dinner on Monday July 5h at around 5-6pm," the letter began. "I was very rude to her — which is out of character for me — I have way more respect for people than I showed that day."

"When our large party was having difficulty being seated and the wait was longer than I thought — I said, loudly .. 'this is [expletive]' to her and I left," he continued. "I feel bad. This coming from a guy who tells people to be kind to service staff and tip big, post pandemic — how hypocritical."

And he indicated that the letter of apology and the enclosed tip were not enough, vowing to "apologize to her in person the next time I am in York" since it is an annual Independence Day vacation spot for his family.

"You never want to be 'that guy' and that day I was 'that guy' — sincerely sorry," he concluded.

Ramsey, for her part, held no ill will, telling the outlet, "Kudos to him for saying, 'I had a bad day,'" and adding that she split the $100 tip with another hostess.

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