What interaction did waiters who served Steve Jobs have with him when they served him at restaurants in Palo Alto and the rest of the Bay Area?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
I've actually had the pleasure to serve Steve at a restaurant in Palo Alto, and here's the story ...
I took some "time off" from the tech industry in 2000 to learn more about one of my passions, wine. So, on a whim, I walked into Niebaum-Coppola on University St. and applied to be an assistant behind the wine bar.
After about 3-4 months behind the bar, Steve walked in with one of his children (don't remember which one) and sat down in front of me and asked for a menu.
As you could imagine, I was a little surprised, but kept my composure and waited for him to order. He talked with his kid about ordering a pizza and they settled on one together and he gave me the request.
In the meantime the restaurant manager was standing pensively off to the side of the bar. She clearly wanted to make sure we served Steve well, and ran back to the kitchen to expedite the pizza.
It was much quicker than normal that the pizza came rushing out, and the manager was intent on delivering it herself. I didn't get in the way, so she put it down in front of Steve and his kid.
However, when Steve picked up the first piece, the manager noticed the pizza was burned on the bottom. I can't imagine how much she was freaking out, but she was really apologetic and said she'd have the kitchen remake it immediately. Steve calmly said "sure, that's great," and went back to chatting with his child.
I offered Steve something to drink and he politely declined.
When the second pizza came out, Steve and his kid tore into it and everything was all better. The manager sighed and walked away, likely to chastise the kitchen for screwing up on the service of a celeb.
At this point, not being a career waiter, I tried to strike up a convo with Steve ...
"Hey congrats on Mac OS X, Steve." I said, as it had just been released a couple weeks earlier.
"Thanks," Steve said, "have you tried it yet?" he questioned.
"Yeah, I've been running it." I said.
"and....what do you think?" He asked.
"To be honest, Steve, it's a work of art."
As I said this, Steve started to smile.
But I continued ... "It's like art because it's beautiful to look at from a distance, but once you get up close, you can see the brush strokes and cracks in the paint."
His smile turned somewhat down. "What do you mean?" Steve said.
"The performance, Steve, it's just not there yet. I'm sure you'll get it humming, but it's painful to use right now. But I love it. It's the most beautiful interface ever."
Steve rubbed his head and lamented "yeah, we were stressing about the performance. We've got a ton of fixes coming to make it better...wait, who are you?!?!"
Having just come out of a failed startup where I was working with a couple of the early Mac team, I wanted to make a connection with Steve and told him: "I just finished closing up a company with your buddies Andy Hertzfeld, Bud Tribble and Mike Boich."
"Oh, you were at Eazel, huh?" Steve said.
"Yup, loved working with the guys, and would see you wandering around the office once or twice."
Steve was now very cordial and made an offer I'd never forget: "why don't you give me your info, and I'll see if there's a place for you at Apple."
I ran off to grab a business card and give him my info. I passed by the restaurant manager, and she wasn't thrilled that I had struck up a conversation with Steve. No matter, it was Steve, one of my heroes, and he wanted to get MY info.
I gave Steve my card, he put it in his pocket and left (and gave us a decent tip in the process).
Now, I never heard from Steve, and honestly, I never bothered to try and follow up. But I learned one important lesson ...
Treat the celebrities and tech elite like they're PEOPLE and not like like they're "different."
My manager tried to go out of her way to fawn over Steve and I'm sure it left no impression.
Yet when I approached Steve as a calm person that appreciated his work, albeit with a critical eye to what could be fixed, we had an honest polite conversation.
It was a great moment I'll always remember. And somewhere in the back of my brain, I always hoped he pulled out my business card and said "hmmm, what an insightful fellow."
More than likely, it ended up in the trash, but you can always have your own memories.
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