The Waiter

It all happened two years ago. I had opened a new restaurant, in London. It was posh, made with the rich and famous in mind. But despite the red velvet floor, silk curtains and mahogany tables, there was still something missing. I could not find a waiter. Then by chance I came upon a lad in Philbert Square. I introduced myself as Robert Stunterbee and he did so as Johnny Pinger. Although only 18, he was handsome and polite. Unfortunately, though I did not know it, he was also clumsy.

Johnny's first day at the Restaurant Calesoo was a disaster. He broke three glasses, cracked two tables and upset a guest. After that night I gave him a strict talking to. "Pinger," I said, "if you don't improve, I'll sack you". I'm sure he tried to get better, but it did not show in his results. In the next two weeks he broke 25 glasses, cracked 15 tables and tore my best silk curtains. My restaurant was quickly losing popularity. But then, almost out of the blue, I had an idea. Why not turn my restaurant into a casual place - "Cafe Casual"? It worked tremendously. And best of all, Johnny improved tremendously. He seemed much more at ease in the casual environment. I let him wear jeans and chat with the guests. He did not drop anything for a year and a bit. For the big change I received "Chef of the Year" and "Manager of the Year". Johnny received "Waiter of the Year".

Gideon Cohen, 9, Independent Jewish Day School, London