My husband and I went to one of our favorite little diners. We live in a town of 19,000 and this was in the town next to us with a population of 10,000. Very small town where you get to know a lot of people and their situations. The last time we ate here the waiter we had looked upset and distracted. During our meal I asked him if he was ok. He stopped for a moment and said “My dad had a massive heart attack last night and is in ICU, I need to keep busy that is why I am here.” I offered some kind words and said I would say a little prayer for his dad. You could see the pain and worry in his eyes but he was coping the best way he knew how.
Well last night he was there. It had been a few months so I was curious to know how he was doing. We had another waitress and I asked her about his dad. “He passed away, you should ask him how he is” At first I was uncomfortable asking him that. I did not want to stir up feelings that he may be uncomfortable with. After all I am just a stranger to him, just another customer. But the pull to talk to him outweighed the resistance.
So I asked her to send him to our table when he got a chance. After a few minutes he came over and said “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes, I just wanted to see how you were doing with your dad?” The look in his eyes told me I did the right thing. He sat down next to me and explained all that had been going on the last few months with his mom and how the president of Home Depot where his dad worked for many years sent a letter to the family. He was shocked that a corporation would take the time “It was his signature not a stamp of it” They also had a shadow box with his apron and rainbow suspenders in it. He opened up and shared his father’s death with us there in a little diner and at that moment we connected beyond a customer and server. I also lost my dad and felt all those emotions he is trying to cope with. He had to leave a few times to work but came back and said thank you for asking, he said he got choked up but in a good way and he appreciated it very much. Sometimes just asking that 1 question even if it feels uncomfortable can make the difference that person needed.