CORBIN — She admits she’s been a server, earning a living mostly on tips off and on for over 15 years. It fits her schedule. The hours are flexible and she enjoys working with people. It’s worked for Valerie Helton.
Helton, who moved to Corbin in 2008 to help run a family member’s coffee shop, recently had a day of serving at a local pizza joint that she’s likely to never forget.
She said it was during a transition from morning to evening shift, a hectic time at most restaurants. It’s often unclear who has what table during this period of time, as was the case for Helton.
Helton ended up with a table during this transition time. She said she wasn’t the server that greeted them or got them their drinks but was the server who handled the rest of their visit. According to Helton she took good care of them, checking on them several times and they refused needing anything each time she checked in on them.
She does admit that when it was time to bring the check, it took her longer than she wanted it to.
When she brought the check to the table and started to apologize, one of the customers was tapping her finger on the table and staring at her.
Helton apologized. The couple sat at the table a while longer.
Once they had left, Helton found a penny tip on the table that was left for her.
“I took care of them the exact same way I took care of the table behind them and the table behind them left me $8,” Helton said.
Following up with management, Helton asked if there was a complaint.
“Our waitress wasn’t very 'waitressy',” Helton said was the complaint.
Bothered mostly by the fact that she didn’t know what that comment meant, Helton couldn’t get it off her mind. At home that night, Helton listed the penny that was left to her by the couple on eBay.
She listed the penny as "A 1970 Passive-Aggressive Tip to Waitress" and in the description she informed people that the penny was left because she wasn’t very "waitressy".
To her surprise, the coin was a 1970 floating roof error coin penny and on Sunday it sold for $16.
“Don’t let negative things that happen get to you,” said Helton. “It’s just one event in the whole scheme of things. If I would have let that get me mad, I wouldn’t have looked at the bright side and discovered this.”
Helton said her customers are entitled to react to her service the way they want to, but she would have preferred them to just ask for a manager so she knows what to do better. Helton said she doesn’t know how to fix “not very waitressy.”
Helton just laughs about it now and said she’s glad to know about the rare error coins on eBay.