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Brief Moments Make Memories on the Heart

Several weeks ago my husband and I visited one of our favorite restaurants. The petite, young waitress in a black skirt and matching blouse took our orders for turkey burgers and fries. As usual Mandy’s sparkling blue eyes and bubbly personality brightened our day.

Not long after she served our food, a man with salt and pepper colored hair and a pudgy face plopped down in front of us. A gray-haired woman with tired brown eyes slid in next to him.

Mandy strolled over and gave them her infectious smile. “Hi, how are you today?”

“I want the steak.” The man spoke in a harsh tone.

“Sure, which one would you like?”

“Don’t put it in the microwave. That makes it tough. Do you understand?” He emphasized the word understand in a loud, condescending tone.

“Yes sir.” Intimidation lined Mandy’s soft voice.

“I want it medium rare with no blood oozing out of it. Cook it right.”

“Yes sir, which steak do you prefer?”

“I think I’ll take the rib eye. And, I want a glass of water with five lemons in it.”

I assumed he meant lemon slices, and knowing Mandy, I’m sure she interpreted his demand that way also.

“Yes sir.” Wrinkles creased Mandy’s brow.

“Oh, and fill the glass to one inch from the top. Don’t put too much water in it.”

“Yes sir.” Mandy spoke in a near whisper.

As soon as she left I leaned across the table. “Did you hear that grouch?” I mumbled under my breath.

My husband nodded.

Later Mandy trekked out of the kitchen, carrying the grouse’s entree, her facial muscles taut. She pressed her lips tight as she set down the plate. “Does everything look all right?” Her voice cracked. Was she going to burst into tears?

Anticipating the worst, in my head I heard a drum roll. What would happen next? But, the man said, “Yes.”

Thank goodness. I took a sigh of relief for Mandy.

She padded back and forth with her shoulders slumped as she met the grumbler’s demands. Perhaps, he was the type person who wants to make sure he takes care of everything in the beginning to avoid problems later. Maybe nothing had gone right in his life for some time, and he just wanted to know that this lunch would. It’s possible the man didn’t feel well, even though he looked fine. There could be many reasons why he sounded so unpleasant. But someone once told me, “There’s never a good reason to be rude.”

At first my heart ached for Mandy, but I heard her laughing and talking to another customer. Hmmm, she only has to contend with him for about an hour, and he’ll be out of her life. I wanted to get up, walk over to the woman with him and say, “Good luck, lady.”


Today, we returned to the restaurant. We weren’t in Mandy’s section, but she came by our table to say "hello." We chatted for a moment, and I mentioned the cranky customer. In an instant she remembered him. “Oh yes, that was horrible. The whole time I waited on him I was so nervous. I was afraid he might explode any minute.”

Even though I may only enter someone’s life for a moment, I have a brief opportunity to brighten that person’s day or put that person under a strain and create stress. In 2017 and onward, I choose kindness.

Galatians 5: 22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Photos courtesy of Pixabay


Andrea Stephens said…
I enjoyed your post. Choosing kindness is always best, it's not always the easiest thing to do. There are times when we need to stand tough and be firm but I believe if we practice kindness every day, it shows during those times.
Gail Pallotta said…
Hi Andrea, Thanks for your thoughts!
Gay Lewis said…
I always try to compliment the servers. They have a difficult I wouldn't want. That guy not only was a grouch but a perfectionist as well. I'm surprised the order suited him. A few find something wrong with perfection. Thanks for reviewing my book, Clue into Kindness. This real life situation reminded me of the opening scene in my book where Alan found fault with the server at every turn. We went to dinner last week with friends. The woman sent her meal back three times.
Gail Pallotta said…
Hi Gay,

Thank your for sharing your thoughts on this.

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