Credit: Illustration by Max Kornell

The scene: As Shane Mannix, the corporate trainer for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, tells the story, a woman “had given birth a year ago, and it was a difficult pregnancy.” She and her husband apparently had not been on a date for 19 months, but for their first evening outside the house, the couple selected Clyde’s of Reston. They planned on catching a movie afterwards. The wife decided to wear a white summer dress.

Mannix picks up the story from here: “So they came in and sat down, and they ordered two glasses of merlot. The server came over with two glasses of merlot and tripped into the table. The two glasses of wine left the tray and hit the lady in the chest. Right there, their night is over. They’re not hanging out with two glasses of red wine all over a white summer dress. They’re just not. Napkins and soda water are not going to fix this.”

The solution: Mannix says the waitress never missed a beat. “The server,” he says, “just went, ‘Ma’am, I’m terribly sorry. There’s a Banana Republic right across the street. Why don’t you run right over and buy yourself a new outfit. It won’t take you five minutes. Bring back the receipt, and we’ll reimburse for whatever you buy. Get yourself set up. By the time you get back, I’ll have all this cleaned up.’ ”

The couple agreed to the deal and went on their unplanned shopping trip. While the husband and wife were gone, the staff cleared and reset the table, this time with “two glasses of wine set on the table,” Mannix says. The manager met the couple at the door, “apologized to them again, got the receipts, sat them down, went and got petty cash, reimbursed the lady for what she had purchased.” Not only that, but Clyde’s bought their meal and told them to come back after the movie for dessert and after-dinner drinks, which the couple did.

But here’s the kicker, according to Mannix: “You know how much she spent at Banana Republic? $74. She went to a sale rack…. She knew, as most people do, that the server was just trying to do the right thing.”

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