A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pay It Forward

This afternoon I sat in a whole in the wall restaurant with friends... half of which chose not to eat (a personal pet peeve of mine). The restaurant is cash only and luckily I had some leftover change from shopping from a few weeks back. The three of us who were eating ordered our food. The waitress, an old Mexican woman, snarkily made a comment that we should not take such a large table with half of the table not ordering food. My friends then quickly became a peanut gallery, making comments about how rude of the lady to speak that way to us and went on and on. I sat there quietly most of the time not wanting to throw fuel into the fire. I made "excuses" for the old waitresses "rudeness", although honestly I agreed. This wasn't some chain restaurant, it was a small... a mom and pop shop. I sat there almost embarrassed as my friends went on and on. The waitress still failed to bring us two of our waters after about fifteen minutes, more comments flew back and forth. I just thought, leave this poor woman alone. I though, yeah... maybe this was rude but what is a woman over the age of 60 doing working on a Sunday. I thought of her story and I thought of leading out in example... of being an example no matter where I am, especially in a restaurant.

Often times I feel as though us "Christians" are the worst customers. Rude. Complainy. Picky and Cheap. I try to think of the person behind the counter when I go out, or the person trying to make a living. I try to remember to tip well although I think college students often fail this rule.

So we sat there, finally getting our food and someone in the group complained... twice. The food was fixed and brought back. They asked for ranch dressing and sour cream was brought. At this point, the group was grumpy and extremely rude. When the bill came, I was overcharged for something that was misleading on the menu. Friends continued to complain as we paid the bill. I made a comment about how I was only going to leave 10% of a tip (essentially shorting it) because I was overcharged and the bill was over but it wasn't worth another complaint. My only comment. As we leave the restaurant, a friend stays behind and talks to the waitress.

We are standing outside waiting for our friend when our she comes out in tears. Sobbing she tells us that she went to the waitress not to complain, but to apologize. As she was leaving the lady from the table began to yell at her. She stated that she heard our conversation and heard my comment and proceeded to yell at my friend. I was even more embarrassed. Embarrassed at my own comment, but saddened that my friend's continual complaining left the wrong impression with this woman who proceeded to yell at her and put her in tears. Was this lady right? No. But neither was their behavior or my comment.

"Practicing the "pay it forward" principle will make you alert to unexpected kindness from strangers toward you, and you may find yourself becoming more grateful for everyday kindness and consideration from people you don't even know."

I think that our world is not about paying it forward, but of letting our love overflow. When I am centered in the word and aware of my surroundings, my cup overflows of God's goodness and grace. That overflow is able to be poured out to others and hopefully the love, mercy, and grace continues to flow and spread. It is not about getting something out of it, but rather just continuing to be an example and show Christ's love.
Tonight my cup overflowed and I was allowed to bless someone else.

There I sat with all new friend's in a restaurant. We had another family from church of friends in the booth next to us, which we said hi too. We attempted our best to stay off our phones and enjoy each others company. We laughed and joked and even got the waiter to give us the lunch special.

Our waiter was a sweetheart and I knew him. We used to serve in ministry together but he hadn't been around much lately, but no one ever noticed that he disappeared. But he was our waiter and we remember each other. He was working along in three sections of the restaurant on this busy Sunday night. 

As two of the girls had to leave, they asked to have their bill separated. But he said not to worry about it, it was taken care of. We looked at each other and questioned what he was talking about. He told us that the table next to us covered our bill. A bill for 11 women's dinners. We were in shock and almost in tears. I was amazed. My friends... the family at the table next to us. The family who had taken me in and treated me like a daughter, the family that made me laugh and loved me and the family that I have become close friends with over the past few weeks, had paid of my meal and all of my friends. Most of which whom they had not met. What a blessing. They really blessed us.

Immediately I thought that we must tip the waiter really well and I grabbed my phone and read a text from the family that said, "The bill is paid... tip him well he's had a long night :-)" As I left a tip that was the amount of what my bill would have been, I started collecting money. I was slightly disappointed that some of the girls didn't seem to understand the concept of paying it forward, or using this as an opportunity to really bless this waiter. We collected a total of $42. Although a little disappointed I thought we should have given more, I was happy that this waiter could be blessed. I hope that this was even an opportunity to get him to come back to our church... he had since moved to Pasadena but was working in Glendora... I hope he was blessed.

He sure did show us that there are good, pure, hardworking guys out there though... I know he has a girlfriend. But one of the girls in our group asked if he was married because of the ring on his wedding finger. He said no, that it was a purity ring and then told us purity is something important to keep until marriage.  We swooned.

What a blessed evening the off-day turned out to be... how great it was to take the "free" dinner and not run, but rather to turn around and allow it to bless someone else.
I felt love by this family,  and felt how amazing it was that they not only blessed us but also blessed this waiter and allowed us to bless him as well.
I pray not that we would pay it forward for good jujubees of the universe, but that we would look at our many blessings and in turn, hope to bless others with our abundance.
A friend also commented, "So many sweet girls who love the Lord all in one place...makes me smile!"

I love when God's love radiates!


Renee said...

Thanks for sharing this story of how that family went out of their way to bless you and your friends. It does make me wonder what sadness is in the heart of the first waitress you mentioned. Only God knows . . .

Rachel B said...

A great, thought-provoking story - thank you!