How An Overcooked Steak Led To An Overwhelming Experience

Everyone seems to have the “great restaurant story” that has happened to them – for good or for bad. Mine occurred just a couple of weeks ago.

I had the privilege of spending some time with my mom recently as I had gone out for a memorial for my grandparents on my mom’s side. We had a blast during the week and did a lot of fun things as mom and son, including some projects around the house.

On my last night my mom took me out to dinner at Outback for a final meal together. I always enjoy their food. My mom ordered a steak and asked for it to be cooked medium. When our orders came out, my mom’s steak looked a bit too done…like well done.

My mom commented to the server and he was willing to take it back to the kitchen. My mom said it was alright and that she would just eat that one. I convinced her to take the guy up on his offer and get her steak cooked how she desired.

It was the series of next events that really left me impressed.

To begin, our server owned the problem and checked into it for us. He explained what might have happened with her order but assured her a fresh steak was going to be out in a few minutes. And it was.

The re-grilled steak was brought out by one of the managers. Her response was refreshing. She stated that she was so sorry for the original steak not getting grilled to her liking and that she was not going to be satisfied until my mom cut into it and was happy with her order. The manager even brought out another baked potato with the fresh steak. She smiled the entire time and kept repeating over and over how important it was that my mom was satisfied with her order.

And so she stood there while my mom cut into her piece of meat…and it was cooked to perfection.

I was so taken back by this service that I actually left Outback in a better disposition than if the whole mishap had never even happened. We left having had a wonderful night, talking about how this restaurant chose to address her situation.

Here are a few things worth noting:

1. No defensiveness

The waiter did not try to rectify things by pushing the matter back to my mom. No “Well you ordered it this way!” type of statement or “This is not overdone.” Just ownership.

2. They were not happy until we were happy

What really stood out to me was the genuine display that their contentedness depended on my mom’s contentedness. They were eager to make things right.

3. Humility saved the day

This, above all else, left me impacted. They could have made us feel stupid, embarrassed, insignificant, or a host of other words fit for this occasion. But there was none of that. The waiter, the food server, as well as the manager, all possessed an attitude of serving us and looking on our need as if it was the only need.

Their spirit spoke volumes and left us with a better impression than if the steak was cooked correctly the first time.

I want to briefly camp on this idea of humility. You cannot “box” with someone who does not have gloves on. Humility always saves the day. As a husband, I cannot tell you the number of conversations that have extended way to long…all because I wanted to be right. To show that I was not as bad as I was being made out to be. That I wasn’t the cause of all of the wrong.

Isaiah 66:2 reminds me that God is omni-aware. He sees all and knows all, yet says He takes special note of a person who exhibits specific God-nurtured qualities.

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Did you see what captures the attention of an all-knowing God? Humility.

If you are a couple striving against each other, my guess is that one of you is desperately trying to convince the other that the “overcooked steak was not my fault.”

The Outback crew could have responded defensively and my mom and I might have been tempted to have “escalated attitudes” for sure. But they didn’t. And their show of modesty about the overcooked steak did not just move a disappointing situation to neutral. It made us fans.

If we would stop being convinced of our own rightness and that we have to sway the other, imagine how much more quickly reconciliation would happen. Because after all, your defensiveness and lack of humility is only broadcasting that you are more selfishly interested about being viewed correctly. That you are right. That you hold the upper hand. That reconciliation happens only on your terms. Is that what God did with us in making us sons and daughters?

What are you actively doing to cultivate humility in how you handle conflict?



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