Royalty serve as waitresses at fundraising event

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, November 8, 2012

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(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Royalty from around the Navajo Nation applaud after a donation is made on Oct. 31 at Quality Inn in Window Rock. Miss Navajo Nation Leandra Thomas sponsored the Tip-A-Royalty event.
SECOND FROM TOP: Titleholders applaud after a customer makes a donation during the Tip-A-Royalty event in Window Rock on Oct 31.

M iss Navajo Nation called her first official event a success as she raised over $1,200 to benefit the Navajo Nation Special Olympics.

"It's more than what I expected," said 2012-2013 Miss Navajo Leandra Thomas about the turnout of her Tip-A-Royalty event held on Oct. 31 at the Quality Inn Restaurant here. "Overall, it has been a big success."

The event brought together 18 titleholders, all dresses in their traditional regalia, from across the Navajo Reservation, who served as waitresses for customers at the Quality Inn restaurant. Their duties included waiting tables, clearing tables, vacuuming, and customer service.

"We don't see that on an everyday bases," Thomas said about how people were served by royalty.

2012-2013 Miss Ramah Navajo Queen Alycia Nabours said that her day at the fundraiser was "exciting. I really liked it."

She said one of the best things about the event was, "Being able to help the Special Olympics and seeing all the people donate toward it. Every penny counts and it's heart touching to see all these people come out and support this."

Gloria Mitchell, restaurant manager, said, "It was real nice. There were a lot of royalties here today from all over. It turned out real nice."

Thomas said, "The royalties have been a key factor in this," and that with the help it was easier to fulfill the job duties.

The biggest rush the royalties experience was the lunch crowd.

Mitchell said that both dinning floors were filled.

"They caught on real fast," Mitchell said. "They weren't scared to get out there and do it."

2012-2013 Miss Central Navajo Latanya R. Jones said when she found out she was going to be part of the fundraiser, her family started preparing her.

"They had me serving them. It was a great experience and my family prepared me for today," she said.

2012-2013 Bahastl'ah Veteran Princess Joni Pino said after this experience, "I give a lot of credit to people who wait on us."

"It was just a good experience seeing people come together. The people we waited on were ecstatic and happy…" Pino said.

A donation box was placed by the cash register and as customers paid for their tickets, they had the chance to leave a tip. Each tip or donation made was announced as royalties rang a bell to indicate a donation was received and the amount was announced.

Thomas said the largest tip she received was $100.

All the money earned from the event was donated in full to the Navajo Nation Special Olympics and Director Larry Curtis was there to accept the donation.

"They did really good and I extend my appreciation to the community who came out to support," Curtis said. "I am so thankful, it's just awesome how everyone came together and wanted to help."

The total amount raised at the event was $1,275.

"We should be helping one another, we shouldn't just be thinking about ourselves. There are people that need a lending hand," Thomas added. "It's how we should be interacting on an everyday basis. It's just a good feeling to see smiling faces. Good customer service is what it is."

2012-2013 Miss Wide Ruins Penelope Joe, 10, said she participated in the event because of her uncle Ryan Tsosie. She wanted to be able to help people with special needs, and she had a lot of fun helping.

Gypsy Pete, 2012-2013 Miss Teen Navajo said, "It's hard to be a waitress. You have to have good communication skills."

Window Rock Elementary School Diné Princess, Makaylin Dan, 10, added, "Today was awesome. I want to have another tip-a-royalty. It was a good experience for me."

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