Here is a story about how giving a piece of advice is a piece of cake – literally:

Before the actual story begins you need to know that I don’t like and therefore don’t eat steak. I am not a vegetarian,  for some reason I really don’t like the taste of steak – enough said.

In the Canadian restaurant business, The KEG is an institution. They built their reputation of being THE place to go if you fancy a good sirloin or any other kind of steak.

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Going to a restaurant is not necessarily on my ‘to do list’. Given the choice I prefer take-away or watch a funny show! This translates into: I prefer being entertained than being fed!

Little did our neighbours know about these idiosyncrasies;  at Christmas they gave us a gift card forThe KEG !

By now it is April, my book launch and birthday has passed and the card has become a permanent accessoir in Dominic’s car. Until Sunday that was. Sunday was the anniversary of our first kiss! One word of warning here, what starts out as something innocent can lead to three children and a happy, fun filled life together!

We finally found a good excuse to leave our boys at home with their instant noodle dish and to splash out on a big plate of Surf’n Turf ( steak and seafood combo).

A sweet, young female waitress made her polite introduction and added “Do you have a special occassion to celebrate with us today?”

Which Dominic answered with an equally friendly  “Actually, yes we do.” Off he went to tell the young woman about our first kiss somewhere in Australia, a very long time ago. Poor girl, as if she really cared. By the looks of it, she could have been our daughter. After the story, – silence! She handed us the menu and left!

Hello there? Isn’t a “Congratulations” in order? How many couples do you know who are still together after 23 years?

Over the years I learned two very simple, but highly effective lessons: Ask for what you want and – You need to speak up if something bothers you! It is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it! It’s the tone that makes the music.

When our sweet waitress took our orders I needed to ask and get if off my chest: “Why did you ask us if we have something special to celebrate?”

Answer: “If it’s an anniversary or birthday, we help you to celebrate and will offer you a piece of cake on the house.”

“Me: “May I offer you a piece of advice? The next time somebody opens up about their special occassion, say at least ‘congratulations’ instead of just walking away.”

Here it was said, it was out in the open in a friendly, clear, forthright manner. Cake or no cake – that’s not what I cared about. But yes, I wanted to hear a ‘” congrats.’I am funny that way. Our waitress thanked me for that advice and left.

By the way, my salmon dish was delicious and Dominic polished off his steak dinner too. Full and happy we were ready to hit home. All we needed to do was pay.  To our biggest surprise our waitress came back to us with this one:

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“Congratulations on your anniversary! I feel so embarrassed – please take this one. If you don’t want to eat it now you can take it home.”

Holy smokes, we were stunt- that was unexpected, sweet, considerate and simply, wow! We were truly moved – and, what can I say, the cake was fantastic!

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This is where the story ends. Isn’t it wonderful that advice is still appreciated – and even rewarded with a piece of cake?

And not to forget, it is always the small thing / gesture that makes customers come back to a restaurant – even if they don’t care about steak!

Thank you KEG for your KEG-XTRA -ORDINARY waitress!




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