This is my lovely step-daughter, Bernadette! (Otherwise known as “How would like your steak cooked?”) She is a single mother, working harder than anyone knows, or very few appreciate, at Longhorn Steakhouse. And when it comes to waitressing there aren’t many weekends busier than “President Valentine’s!!!” Between shopping for all the sales and showing all the honeys how loved they are, this spells work, work, WORK for this young lady! And lo, and behold! Bernadette gets scheduled for a Double Double Double, Saturday, Sunday, Monday!
The tales that she tells after such times, or even at the end of ordinary days, are so often sad commentaries on her fellow human beings. Don’t get me – or her – wrong, she does not go there expecting a breeze! But her “tales of entitlement” could fill volumes, one sadder than the other. Often treated like a slave by a large group of malcontents who wear her to the bone, as if they own her, and her existence is meant for them alone. But unable to please them enough over hours of enslavement, she is left a tip of five dollars, when the “law of human-kind-ness” says it should be closer to eighty-five. How many times over the years our sweet, and WE KNOW hard-working, girl has sat down at the end of a day and cried.
But yesterday had such a happy ending, a storybook fairytale finish. There Bernadette was near the end of her second Double, that one being the biggie, Valentine’s Day. She was having a hard enough time just standing up. An hour before the restaurant’s usual closing, there was still over an hour wait-on-line for a table! One kind group of customers detected from her usual bubbly, but now near bubble-bursting, self, that she needed something to keep her going for the last big lap. They asked, “Is there anything we can do for you?” And Bernadette joked. Outside the window, just next door, there’s a Starbuck’s, so she said, just kidding,”You could get me an espresso at Starbuck’s.” To which they said, “Ok.” But they didn’t. And of course they did not have to. She did not expect them to. It was just a laugh.
And then a group entered the restaurant, a bunch of big hungry soldiers, all wearing sunglasses, late at night in a restaurant. They were from West Point, one of our great nation’s premier military academies which is nearby. As it turned out, they had all had eye-corrective surgeries. And they had waited a mighty long time for steaks! They had many a good reason to feel annoyed or entitled, but their eyes spied a little tiny lady on her very last leg, and one asked that very same question, “Is there anything we can do for you?” Bernadette laughed to herself about the last result of her response to that question, but she saw that they each had a Starbuck coffee to help them endure their waiting time, and it made her spurt out, “You could get me an espresso to get me to the end of this night.” How shocked our Bernadette when a soldier jumped to her need. He returned with a DOUBLE-ESPRESSO and a whole big bag of coffee to boot! These men were as tired and hungry and deserving of service as anyone, but they thought of her.
A wonderful Valentine for a wonderful lady! Only, very few ever stop to notice her beauty, that hard-working beauty. Herein lies the great dignity of our military, never appreciated enough. While other people may feel entitled and even demand service without a second thought of the server, they will look through their PERFECTED VISION and see a fellow FRONT-LINER. Waitressing, THEY KNOW, is not for the fainthearted. But they could have let her carry out her task to the end. OR they could show how well they KNOW the ancient code of the True Knight. In the military encyclopedia it is known as “MAGNANIMITY,” and it means “to use one’s power not to destroy but to build, not to dominate but to serve, not to force down but to raise up, to lift one who is tired or downtrodden in any way.” Such souls are among the forgotten EveryDay Valentines of the World.
You might say, Ahh, come on, you are making so much out of such a small thing! Well, i think not. Remember one of the world’s greatest stories of Love, that of Quasimodo for Esmerelda. He gave his very life for her, who had only – she alone – given him a cup of water. At the end of that long day and night these soldiers, who know better than any about chain of command, filed a glowing report to Bernadette’s manager, who saw that she received special Company Rewards for her labors. Small things? i think not…Unless in your world the little ones are the great ones.
Of Valentines 2016, i think we’ve seen Quite a BEAUTY!