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Extra tip for server who needed proof of my age

Joyce Walter writes about senior's discounts
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

The young server at the Sunday buffet made my day, while adding considerable amusement to Housemate’s evening out.

When I entered my early 50s, I was incensed at being asked if I were a senior, or having a clerk or server assuming I was old enough to qualify for a senior’s discount. At that time, in my opinion, the age to be considered a senior was 65, the age at which one received the bountiful “old age pension” and not a day before that.

Then 55 became the new 65 and suddenly I was of age and, along with hundreds of others much older than I, began receiving discounts that came freely and without question. With minimal arm twisting I started enjoying some of the perks that went along with the graying hair and a stumbling memory. 

It was more than having a menu for seniors who were assumed to have smaller appetites and thus got only one piece of fish instead of two, or one scoop of mashed potatoes rather than two. The price too was less, as befitting an older person.

Many hotels also offer a reduced rate for mature guests. But the seniors’ rate cannot be added to the rate for the motor club reduction — I tried that with a hotel receptionist recently and she, with amusement, caught on to my double dipping attempts. She did give me an E for effort.

But I digress. We had settled nicely into our seats at the restaurant and the young man asked our beverage preferences and whether we would be ordering from the menu or partaking of the buffet as he listed off the dishes he thought we might enjoy.

We decided on the buffet and he kindly told us the price we would be charged, noting the regular rate and then the rate for seniors. He looked at Housemate and said the seniors’ price would apply.

I told him I was a senior too, without shame or red face. He responded: “I will have to see some proof, if you don’t mind.”

I burst out laughing and Housemate had trouble swallowing his mouthful of water.

The young man was resolute, but mannerly when I told him I hadn’t been carded for a good many years. But there was no way I was getting close to the buffet until I proved that I was old enough to save a few dollars.

I produced my driver’s licence, thinking the ugly photo would scare him off, or at least convince him no one young could look like that. With diligence he examined the dates and I could feel him doing the math.

With a pleasant smile, he thanked me for showing him my identification, returned my licence and exhorted us to enjoy our buffet meal. He definitely has a diplomatic career ahead of him.

We enjoyed our meal, interspersed with some giggles over being asked to prove my age, and louder laughter at Housemate’s chagrin that he didn’t have to offer proof. The roast beef went down nicely with the added spoonful of amusement.

But my joy was short lived when a few days later we journeyed to attend an event in a community to the west, where we paid our admission at the roadblock and I was then directed by the attendant that “parking for seniors” was down the street after a left hand turn.

Then he with haste said, “Not that I’m assuming you’re a senior” as his friends guffawed at his backtracking. 

We had a good-natured chat about assumptions before turning left to find a parking spot suitable for seniors. Youth is indeed fleeting.

Joyce Walter can be reached at