Who would think this to be the case in our world today where it seems like too many are looking for some glory?!?! Last night, I had the opportunity to participate as a guest waiter for a local Seattle program called “FareStart” (www.farestart.org). Founded with the intent of providing healthy meals for homeless individuals, they have taken it a step further by developing an impressive program that helps transform the lives of homeless men and women by providing them with useful skills and training in the food services industry. After developing these skills working in one of FareStart's three restaurants, they graduate and go on to good positions in leading restaurants throughout the area.

I had the opportunity to be a volunteer server for a table of guests on one of FareStart's “Guest Chef“ nights (last night featured Gene Cunningham, head chef from “Equis“ at the Hyatt Bellevue) and it really opened my eyes to the amazing planning and synchonization that goes on beyond the scenes of a top-notch restaurant. At first, I was pretty awkward but gradually got the hang of it during my work on the first shift. Later, I was able to compare my efforts with the pros from the Hyatt as I sat down to enjoy the three course meal during the second shift. Let's just say I've got a long way to go to match their skill and grace! I was reminded that there “is a difference between being a server and a waiter” according to a FareStart graduate and now regular volunteer. As he said, “you're really doing it right when nobody notices you're even there.” Anticipating customer needs and quietly attending to them... Quickly responding to special requests... Supporting other team members with a tray stand here or a quick trip to the kitchen to pick up an additional dessert there... And, doing it all with a smile.

The idea of nobody noticing success reminded me of what a former co-worker once told me about running an IT help desk. He confided that, “I know my team and I are doing our jobs right when we don't hear from anyone...“ In a world where most seem to be looking for glory, we're lucky when people perform their craft flawlessly and take satisfaction from knowing that if “nobody notices“, things are going well!

Farestart was a great experience. If you're in the area, I highly encourage you to enjoy their establishments and possibly contribute - as a volunteer or through other means. The meals are fantastic at a reasonable price and you also get to impact the lives of others in a positive way.