A Waitress and a Lesson in Gratitude


waitressI published this previously, but wanted to post it again during Thanksgiving week:

I was in a small town in North Carolina.  I had taken a week to write up in the mountains, and a good friend of mine kindly gave me his luxurious cabin just for that purpose.  I lost an entire day of writing due to a Mac freeze up, so I decided to get out of the cabin and enter the small town of Sparta for a meal.  I pulled into the place that was the most packed.  It was a small diner.  I sat down with the regulars and decided what to order.  The waitress was very friendly and nice.  She asked me how I was and took my order.  I asked her how she was doing.  She said she was fine.  Then, she waited on the couple behind me, who appeared to be regulars.  When they asked about how she was, she told them that her dad was in the hospital recovering from triple bypass surgery.  She went to the hospital yesterday to see her dad and be there for the surgery.  She also told them about her dad’s initial visit to the hospital when he was having chest pains and shortness of breath.  She said that when they asked him what he was doing there, he told them that he just wanted a flu shot.  They laughed.  They actually laughed.  She told the couple that he had such blockages in his arteries that they scheduled him for surgery immediately.

I kept eavesdropping.  The surgery went well and her dad was in the ICU recovering.  They may be able to move him into a room by tomorrow.  The couple told her that it must be hard to be at work while her dad is in the hospital.  She told them that it was very hard because she is such a “daddy’s girl”, and she was really worried about him.  But she added that the bills didn’t stop just because her dad had triple bypass.  She had to work.  She had no choice.

It made me think really hard about my circumstances.  I think I’m the luckiest human being on the face of this earth.  If my mom was in the hospital, I could take off as much as I wanted to be able to be with her.  Don’t get me wrong. Having my own business has its challenges.  I remember a time when I borrowed $80,000 against the house to be able to stay in business.  Those were scary times.  But lately, the blessings have been almost too much.  Work is booming and there are opportunities for more work in the future.  Finances are looking good and I don’t have to worry so much any more.  I wanted to leave her a big tip, but I didn’t want to come across as a creepy old man.  So I left a tip on the table of the couple behind me.

So no matter what is going on in your life, I encourage you to stop and take inventory.  Count your blessings and see where you are.  Reach out to those who are struggling and help them if you are able.  We have to take care of each other.  If you would like to share your story of gratitude or helping someone else, I would love to hear it.

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One Response to A Waitress and a Lesson in Gratitude

  1. Teri Evand says:

    Pay it forward – one of my favorite mottos!

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