It was just a night out to have dinner at a small pizza and pasta restaurant. Last Saturday night…the night we met a particularly friendly waitress. The waitress we won’t soon forget.
We walked inside from the unusually cold Texas night. The warm atmosphere was immediate. Pretty linen tablecloths. A man playing the piano…beautifully playing Broadway tunes, current songs, jazz. Soft lights. Quiet conversations at several tables. This is not the normal pizza place. We felt like we were invited into someone’s home.
After we were seated, our waitress came over to get our drink order. So outgoing. A beautiful smile. Young. Perhaps in her very early twenties. Friendly and confident. Efficient. She even brought us an extra plate so we could share the salad…just because the salad was large. She thought that we might want to both have a salad with our dinner. Thoughtful.
I remember thinking that she seemed especially mature for her age. Probably a college student making extra money. Parents who brought her up correctly…as if anyone really knows the correct way to raise a child.
We soon found out that her parents were far from good parents. As we were about to pay for our dinner, she looked towards the door. “Oh look! It’s my husband’s dad and brother! I love it when my family comes here for dinner!”
When she brought our receipt back, she apologized for getting so excited about someone coming in who we didn’t even know. She went on to explain that her husband’s family was all the family she had. She truly thought that her husband’s family was wonderful. Her own family was in another city, but she didn’t see them anymore.
She didn’t intend to see them until they got their act together. She doubted that they ever would make it. She told us that her family is seriously into dangerous drugs. She said that their lifestyle is not the lifestyle that she wanted. She had practically raised herself.
Without good teachers, she could not imagine where she would be. Eventually she left home…to make it on her own. She soon met her husband and was recently married. Her family did not even know about the pretty wedding. She was going to college and working at the restaurant in the evenings.
Once she started talking, she told us the entire story. She said that she could have been sad. She said that she could have been totally lost. She said that she had faith and that she knew that she was on the right path. She was planning to be a teacher and help someone else make something special of themselves.
What a heartfelt story. A story with such a positive outcome. A story that made us smile for this ambitious young woman who grew up to be so very resilient. Not an ounce of forlornness surrounding our waitress on Saturday night.
Congratulations to a future teacher. She will probably change many lives!