During more than a decade as a server at Salerno's Restaurant, Kelly Deegan has scooped up all kinds of personal possessions accidentally left behind.
Pocket books, paperback books, tablet computers, e-readers and credit cards have all been forgotten by customers.
The more expensive the item, the more likely someone will retrieve it. But when it comes to inexpensive items like reading glasses, many don't bother to fetch them.
To prevent such situations, a new program strives to eliminate the need for reading glasses at area restaurants altogether.
The MenuMates program provided Salerno's in Eldersburg with a kit that contains four pairs of the most common strengths of reading glasses, along with an eye chart for diners to determine which strength they need.
The program, organized by Katzen Eye Group, provides complimentary kits to any area restaurant interested in participating.
Katzen offered the service previously but revamped efforts this year after several patients kept returning to purchase new reading glasses they lost.
So far, MenuMates is available at several different restaurants in the region. Salerno's is the first Carroll location to have the eyeglasses.
They are also at Accomac Inn and Left Bank Restaurant in York, Pa., and the Capital Grille, Rusty Scupper and The Prime Rib in Baltimore.
The program is particularly useful for those who never had to wear glasses previously, then did as their eyesight deteriorated as they got older. They are more likely to leave their glasses behind, said Janna Mullaney, the Chief Operations Officer at Katzen.
"For someone who hasn't had to wear glasses until recently like me, you don't always remember to carry them around," Deegan said. "I can come to work and not worry about it because I have the MenuMates ones there."
It can be difficult to read the tiny print on menus, particularly in dark restaurant settings, Mullaney said. That makes eateries the ideal place to roll out such a program, Mullaney said.
"Hopefully, [patrons] will learn when restaurants get these kits and they won't have to worry about it," Mullaney said.
Reading glasses can be less than $10 per pair. Since customers don't have the significant financial commitment to them, they can be easier to use, Mullaney said.
Salerno's is advertising the service at restaurant tables. The publicity certainly doesn't hurt Katzen, Mullaney said. But the customer service is also helpful for those who never seem to be able to keep their reading glasses in their possession.
"You talk to the patients that use them," Mullaney said, "and they buy them every month. They just don't have the investment in them."