Thursday Apr 07 2011
Community Portrait: For 25 years, she’s topped off your coffee with a smile
By: Story and photo Michael Kirby
“I never thought that I would be waiting tables for 25 years,” said Beverly Samp before her shift began recently. The 54-year-old Samp is a waitress at Auburn’s Sizzler Restaurant. Her friendly and outgoing personality helps make Auburn’s Sizzler franchise a “locals” dining establishment. Samp moved to Auburn in 1983 and worked a few different jobs before applying for a job at Sizzler when it was built in 1986. Samp was raised in Fremont and was determined to live by the ocean or in the mountains. “We couldn’t afford the oceanfront so I chose the mountains,” Samp said. “That’s how I ended up in Auburn.” Samp had done some waitressing locally before she applied for the job at the newly opened Sizzler overlooking the beautiful American River Canyon just east of town. “My husband and I were buying our first house and the loan company said we needed a second income to qualify for the loan,” Samp said. “I planned on staying at Sizzler just until our loan closed, but here I am 25 years later.” The hours at Sizzler were a good fit for Samp and she could care for her kids without paying for childcare. “We open late and close early. It just worked out,” she said. Well that was over 25 years ago and Samp’s smiling face still greets regular customers and travelers during the day Monday through Friday at Sizzler. Samp is an excellent waitress, but she does more than bring food to the tables. Samp pays special attention to her regulars and there are lots of them. Many groups meet in the Sizzler banquet room for meetings or parties. “There’s the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and Soroptimists once a month, the Kiwanis Club once a week, along with the Republican Women’s group, SIRS, and other service clubs that meet regularly in the banquet room at Sizzler,” she said. Samp also has her regular customers who come in and sit in her station area. She knows many by name and most of the time what they like to eat, what beverages they like, and if they like cream in their coffee. “I’ve known some of these people for 25 years. I’ve seen some of them grow up, have babies, and then I’ve seen those babies grow up and come in and I remember when they were born,” Samp said. “Sometimes customers will come in when they are not even eating to let me know what’s happening with so-and-so.” But it’s the way she moves through the room serving food and helping customers with re-fills and such that sets Samp apart from most servers. She puts in the extra effort of making sure each guest feels comfortable, welcome and has whatever they need. Always with an upbeat tone, her personality is contagious. Most customers just have to smile and enjoy themselves. “I really appreciate my customers because without them coming here and being happy I wouldn’t have a job, Samp said. “In my heart of hearts, I honestly appreciate what they have done for me, what, it’s allowed me to have, she said. Samp now lives in Blue Canyon with her husband John, commutes daily to Sizzler, and interestingly Samp has never been in another Sizzler to eat or even just look around.