YORK, Maine — A hostess at a York restaurant had to deal with an unruly customer last month. She was surprised when she received $100 and an apology letter from him last week.
"I got the goosebumps and was like 'really?' And I read it again and I was like 'that's really cool,'" said Tammy Ramsey, hostess, Union Bluff Hotel.
Tammy Ramsey has worked at the Union Bluff Hotel in York for 25 years. She said she can't remember exactly who the customer was, but remembers one customer being upset after waiting for a table for an hour and a half. She said he swore at her and stormed out.
"I've been doing this for so many years. Not so much goes through my head. I just try and 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,'" Ramsey said.
Part of the letter reads:
"I feel bad. This coming from a guy who tells people to be kind to service staff and tip big post-pandemic - how hypocritical."
He signed it "an embarrassed customer."
"Kudos to him for saying I had a bad day," Ramsey said.
She said customers have been on edge the past few months.
Matt Lewis, the president and CEO of HospitalityMaine, said he's heard the same from other restaurants in the state.
"It's gotten pretty pervasive. We know many of our restaurants and our hotels are operating on a reduced staff level," Lewis said.
The Office of Tourism has developed new messaging reminding people to be kind.
"You will see posters around town that say 'be patient, be kind.' Guests coming to Maine, please come, we value your business, but you may have to be a little bit more patient and more kind because everyone is working very hard," said Lewis.
Ramsey has the same advice.
"Be nice, be patient. Put yourselves in their shoes. Understand people are short-staffed and we're doing our best," said Ramsey.
Ramsey said she split the $100 with another hostess.