I was already late as I made my way up Piedmont Road. I was heading to the Wesley Woods Clergy Appreciation luncheon. Typically, clergy gatherings are held in church fellowship halls. Wesley Woods hosted theirs at the Buckhead Club on the twenty sixth floor with a panoramic of the Atlanta skyline.
At a stop sign, I glanced down at the instructions for parking. There would be “complimentary valet.” I hardly ever use valet. I hardly ever attend venues with valets. The times I have used valets they have hardly ever been complimentary. But I thought to myself, “It’s clergy appreciation. You deserve valet every now and then. Brush off the crumbs on the floor and roll on in with your mini-van.” But then I remembered. I had no cash! I hardly ever carry cash. I was running late and the Bishop would be there. I didn’t have time to stop at the ATM.
I dug between the seats looking for wadded and forgotten bills. Nothing. And then I remembered. We had gift cards in the console. In fact, they were spilling out of the console. I sorted through them. We still had some from Babie’s R Us. There was Carrabas and Home Depot. But I thought, “Let’s class it up.”
After the luncheon, I huddled with the other pastors as we waited on the attendants to bring our cars. I was filled with appreciation from the luncheon and wanted this exchange with the valet to be behind me. I saw the other ministers folding their bills in their hands. Then my Honda Odyssey, in all of its splendor and soccer odor, turned the corner in the parking garage. The valet seemed all too happy to hop out. He extended his hand and waited for that sometimes smooth, sometimes awkward exchange of keys to cash between us. But there would only be a key.
I said, “Sir, hold on.” I reached in the console. “Do you like Zaxby’s?” “Excuse me.” “Do you like Zaxby’s?” He took the card with its $25 credit and no expiration date. He looked me in the eyes in disbelief. Unsure of his disappointment or delight, he laughed and said, “Thanks. Best tip all day.”
It’s good to be appreciated.