When you meet kindness head on, consider yourself lucky.
On our way home from a long overdue visit with our grandchildren, we stopped for dinner at an Applebee’s, our first dinner in a restaurant in over a year. Our server was Tanya. She was delightful, funny, and it was easy to strike up a conversation. How do conversations evolve into something personal? I can’t put my finger on it. Tanya certainly didn’t share her life… but then again she did.
We talked about Covid and masks, how Applebee’s had kept their food service going, and if she had been able to keep working through the pandemic. We talked about our trip and grandchildren and children. I told her that I taught preschool. Hubby asked if she had children- a casual question.
Her answer was not so casual, and one of the most inspiring stories both of us have heard.
Tanya was seeing another man. He had been married, and he had two children. Their mother was tragically hit by a car on the way to the dentist, and she was killed. Without hesitating on what to do, she did the right thing, the kind thing. She took in those two kids. They were 12 and 14 years old. The dad was in and out of the picture.
”How did the children feel?”
“They hated me, especially the girl… until I did her hair for her mother’s funeral. Now they love me.”
She held back tears. I did, too.
”Then, their father died. They stayed with me. They’re wonderful kids. One of them works here.”
”Yes. She’s right over there.”
”Can I meet her?”
So Tanya went to get her, proudly calling her ‘her daughter’. I had the pleasure of telling her what a wonderful human being her ‘new mother’ is. I shook the girl’s hand and looked directly into her eyes. Was it awkward? Yes, a little. But, I wish everyone could be told by a stranger, in a restaurant, that their mom is one of the best, and that kindness matters.
Kindness is at the root of becoming a good person and a good citizen. It’s what I teach my preschoolers in many different ways. It’s the most important thing I teach children.
I’m lucky that I met kindness, head on. Thank you, Tanya.