Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news.
Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.
Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. 'OK, Frannie , what was that all about?' he asked..
'We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.'
'I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?'
Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery then sighed: 'Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK,' she said. 'But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is.' Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do.
After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.
'What's up?' I asked.
'I didn't get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,' she said. 'This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.'
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed 'Something For Stevie'.
'Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,' she said, 'so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.'
She handed me another paper napkin that had 'Something For Stevie' scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: 'Truckers!!'
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.
His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
'Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,' I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. 'Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!' I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.
I could feel and hear the rest
At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it, fulfilling the need!
If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.
*Thanks to Angela who sent me this post.