a door you
On Saturday morning I decided to take myself to breakfast before going into work. I needed the fuel of a large platter of eggs, hash browns, and bacon, so that I could focus on work without the interruption of hunger.
The restaurant was busy, but I was taken to a table with seating for four that was near another table with a solo breakfaster. I ordered a decaf coffee and a water. When the coffee arrived, I took a deep breath, inhaled the aroma, and drank. I released a long breath as I imagined what I had left to do at work. April 15th was almost here and I felt relaxed and relieved.
The server appeared, ready with a smile. He asked how my weekend was going. "So far so good. A little bit of work today. How's your weekend going?"
"It's going good...where do you work?" he asked.
"At a small tax office."
"Oh, it's your busy time."
"Yes, it's almost done. Just waiting for a few more checks for extensions."
"I'm curious. How does an extension work?"
"Well, you get an additional six months to file your taxes, but if you owe money, you still have to pay that with your extension request."
I satisfied his curiosity. I smiled at him. He said he'd place my order and it would be up soon.
I took another sip of my coffee, and heard the gentlemen next to me say, "Nothing like tax talk on a Saturday morning."
I looked over to him briefly to acknowledge him and gave him a smile. I didn't have my glasses on, since I often take them off when I'm eating, so I wasn't able to see him clearly, or maybe because of my introverted ways, I didn't rest my eyes upon him long enough.
I sat for a few moments, maybe even two or three minutes, then out came the notebook. It's always interesting to see how long I can sit if I'm dining in a restaurant alone, to see how long I can sit before pulling out my notebook. When I was done writing, I sat still again, then I reached for the book I had brought. I was then transported out of the restaurant into my own world–I had slipped into the quiet where I feel at home amongst the bustle, being surrounded by loud noises, chatter, and movement, yet immersed in my own quiet space.
When my breakfast arrived, I wiped down my utensils with the napkin, set them down. I mixed my medium done eggs in with the hash browns, added salt, pepper, and tabasco sauce. I enjoyed every delicious bite of my meal and I knew that it would get me through the morning. The server had been by a few times to see how my food was. Everything was great.
I sensed that the gentlemen was getting ready to leave as his server was asking if he needed anything else and he said he was ready for the check. I also still have moments of shyness, otherwise, I may have looked up, started a conversation, or said goodbye, but pair moments of shyness with a natural inclination toward introvertedness, and well, it doesn't make for the most outgoing of individuals.
When my server came by again, I said that I was ready for my check. "Well, actually," he said, "the man that was sitting there, he paid for your breakfast."
"Oh my goodness. How nice of him. My gosh." I was taken aback with surprise.
"So whenever you're ready, you're free to go. Enjoy the rest of your day."
"Thank you, you too."
I was going to pay for my bill with my ATM card. I didn't have any cash with me, but I still wanted to leave the server a tip. I went over to the convenience store and bought a few postcards in order to get cash back. I went back to the restaurant and handed him his tip.
I felt a deep gratitude inside and I felt something open up inside of me that would fill my day with an added lightness– a happy, grateful feeling. I felt giddy at the kind gesture of this gentlemen–this stranger–a fellow human being, who for whatever reason, at that moment in time, expressed a random act of kindness.
And to him, this gentlemen, whom I may never see or recognize again, I thank him dearly. I will remember.