When a Wareham mother went to visit her daughter for a lunch date, she didn’t plan on rolling up her sleeves and getting to work, but once Tammy Vieira saw how busy the restaurant got while her daughter was the only waitress working, she sprang into action and temporarily joined the workforce at Casa Cancun Wareham.

Vieira was a waitress for 18 years, so she knows a thing or two about the industry. Nowadays, she volunteers at Mills River Rescue in Marston Mills on the Cape. Helping is in her blood, so you could imagine her desire to help when she saw what her daughter was dealing with at work.

“She had to open, so I went to visit her for lunch and as I sat down, six tables walked in at once,” Vieira said. “Then more tables came in. The place was full of customers with one waitress and one cook.”

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Vieira’s 18 years of customer service and her desire to help overpowered her need to eat as she got up and began greeting tables for her daughter.

“I learned from experience that as long as you get them a drink, some chips, and some dip, they’ll be happy,” joked Vieira.

While her daughter worked tirelessly, Vieira picked up the slack with getting customers' drinks, cleaning tables, and helping take orders, and it warmed her heart to see the positive response from hungry customers.

“We hear those stories nowadays of people complaining, but (the customers) lifted my spirits,” she said. “They were so pleasant and understanding.”

It’s true that the waitress in need was her daughter, but Vieira insisted that she would have helped any server that she saw in that situation. Short staffing is still a lingering problem at local restaurants, with many owners and employees being overworked to keep up with the flow of customers. It’s a bittersweet problem to have a lot of customers for lunch, but not enough staff to operate smoothly.

“It’s sad,” Vieira said. “The jobs are out there.” People just need to take them.

Christian Alvarez, owner of Casa Cancun, was so appreciative of Vieira’s kind gesture.

“He told me I get free taco Tuesday for a month,” laughed Vieira.

Casa Cancun is just one example of so many restaurants that are hiring, hoping to return to a full staff to operate to the best of their ability.

In the meantime, the real heroes don’t wear capes. Sometimes it’s a mother with a helping heart.

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