Be Like MartYn: A Lesson In Offering A Helping Hand

Be like MartYn…”its Martin, but with a Y.”


I am traveling. I found myself at a Dennys in the middle of nowhere Tennessee at 6am (why I am in Tennessee is a long story). I walked in, and what seemed like a bus boy greeted me with a big smile. He first asked my name, which caught me off guard, as there were just 4 tables full in the entire place, so my name was not needed for a wait list. Plus, I had not had coffee, so I was not prepared for any upbeat chipperness. I said “I am KP.” He said, “like the letters?” I said, “yes.” He said, “I am Martin, but with a Y.” I looked at his name tag, and it read, “MartYn,” with the Y capitalized. In error or on purpose? I am not sure.


MartYn had a polo shirt in which the collar was so high it covered the sides of his face, and his hat was pulled down so far that you could only see his smile. I just thought, “well, just another friendly person from Tennessee.


As he walked me to my table, it was then I first noticed that he has Down syndrome. He asked me what I wanted to drink. He came back 30 seconds later, apologized for forgetting what I wanted to drink, and asked again. He came with my coffee, then jogged to the kitchen, came back out with a bucket, and began bussing a table.


Then my waitress came and took my order. Moments later, MartYN was back to refill the 1oz of coffee I had drank, and he set my table…putting every possible condiment known to man on the table and 10-15 napkins. He disappeared again, and came back with a water refill, though I had yet to touch my water. Then, he appeared again, refilling my and everyone else in the dinners coffee again. 2 coffee refills within 5 minutes.


One table could not decide between two options on the menu. The waitress called over MartYn. MartYn shared with joy about both dishes as if they were the best thing on the menu at a five star restaurant, then gave his recommendation. He then disappeared to the back, and came back again with a third coffee refill. 3 coffee refills within 8 minutes.


The waitress dropped off my food. She seemed frustrated. She mumbled to me that she was working alone and that she would get help in a half hour. As she was walking away, my man MartYn came by with a coffee refill. 4 coffee refills within 12 minutes.


MartYn then asked if I liked syrup. I said yes. A minute later, he came back with an extra container of syrup for my pancakes, and, he refilled my coffee. 5 coffee refills within 15 minutes.


MartYn then was busy bussing three tables. As he was cleaning the tables, a second waitress came into the diner, early for her shift. My waitress was excited to see her, and said something to the affect of finally getting a break. She went outside to smoke as the new waitress quickly checked on the remaining table.
I got up to go pay, and as I did, I saw MartYn coming around the corner, coffee pot in hand, ready to give me a refill.


Tipping The Bill

I’ve been doing this thing lately, inspired by Robert Caruso – fondalo where I “tip the bill.” I am not a wealthy man, but I don’t have expensive eating out habits, so I am able to swing it at Dennys and Bob Evans and iHop.
Tipping the bill does a few things. It does provide extra income for those who take care of us – the service industry workers. Often it gives an opportunity to for a short quick comment to plant a seed. Robert usually does so by sharing a quick word about God calling on him to bless them. For me, that does not work well with my $12 tip for my $12 bill at Dennys, so I usually write “God Bless You,” on the receipt and leave it behind.

Tipping the bill also helps set our own minds more towards giving and gratitude. And, it gives us an opportunity to use the resourced God has entrusted us with for good. The reality is that though leaving a $12 tip vs a typical $3 25% tip is just $9 more, but it is very much noticed by the worker and you’ll always instantly see their mood change.


My bill came to $12 and some change. I wrote God Bless You on the receipt, took out $25, handed it to my waitress and said to keep the change. She asked twice if I was sure, as if I’d left a massive sum behind. But to her, with their not being much business, and with her being in a frustrated mood, getting $10 more than she expected probably made her feel more blessed in that moment than if you found a $100 bill in your pocket right now.


I then went looking for MartYn. He was busy cleaning the bathroom. I waited. The only cash left on me was a $16. I did a quick selfish thought to think if I had any toll roads coming up that I’d need the cash for (hey, we have moments of selfishness even in our giving), and no I didn’t. So, I handed it to him, and commended him on his hard work. He said thank you.


As I turned to leave, I heard MartYn in the background say, “YES!!!” as he looked in his hand to examine what he’d been given.


$9 extra dollars to a waitress changed her entire mood and outlook.


$16 to a bus boy filled him with joy and a sense of feeling appreciated.


But this post is not about that. This is about MartYn.

Be Like MartYN


The waitress, though it would seem had a very light workload, felt overwhelmed. MartYn saw that, and he stepped up.


His help seemed to go entirely unnoticed by the waitress. She kept complaining. He kept helping.


My man MartYn had no clue what he was doing, but he knew she needed some help. And so, he helped.
He knew people seemed to be happy when they get their coffee refilled, or he’d seen it be something the waitress does, so that is what he did. He refilled coffee to the best of us ability. If your mug dropped in coffee level more than an ounce or two, MartYn was there to refill.


He also did not neglect his own responsibilities. He bussed every table while taking on the extra work load. He wasn’t to going to be recognized for it. He was not going to be paid more. But he just did it, because someone needed a little help.

Be like MartYn.

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