“Gratitude” Photo: Mike Murchison
by Mike Murchison
I don’t get to sit in a restaurant very often. I eat out of my cooler, grab a coffee to go from the truck stop “C” store and eat on the fly.
That’s part in parcel how the electronic logbooks in trucks have affects me. As soon as I wake up, hit the “On Duty” button on the screen, the clock is running.
For me and many others to take the time and sit and enjoy a meal is a luxury. Which may very be part of the reason many truck stops have shut down the “dine in” style of eating to the quicker “get it and be gone” blueprint we have today.
So, this past Saturday I decided I’m going to get up, clean up, walk into that big ole’ truck stop and park my tail in one of them booths in the restaurant. Just take my time at breakfast.
It was early. 6 AM. I was the first one there. So, the waitress was on me with the cutlery, place mat and a cup of coffee that sent my taste buds into a state of ecstasy. Yes Ma’am.
I gave the waitress my order and settled into a nice peaceful mindset to ponder on the 3-hour drive to the yard …and then home.
She came back to my table 10 minutes later with breakfast. Now I like to talk to people. Or should I say “listen” to them” You can learn a lot by utilizing those two ears on the side of your head.
So, in that quiet space in that empty restaurant, I asked the “can of worms” opening question: ”How are you today?”
“Okay,” she said.
“You working hard?” I asked.
She actually sat down across from me and began a monologue to me, at me. All the whole time her tired eyes looking right into mine.
I didn’t mind. People need a shoulder. And when most of your week is spent alone in a truck, it is a nice change.
Here’s what I discovered: Single mom of two grade schoolers. Works three part-time jobs
Has a 2008 Ford something or other that starts when it’s damn good and ready to.
She wonders why it has to be so hard and why her health insurance premiums are going up. And yeah…she can’t make heads or tails of the gas prices.
She went on for about 15 minutes. She stopped once she realized that another driver had sat down at the counter. He opted to show up in his jammies or whatever the hell they were.
“I’ll get you some more coffee” she said as she rose from the booth I was in.
I watched her walk over to where the driver who had just come in was sitting.
All I overheard was
“Give me this”
“Give me that”
“And don’t do this”
She came back with some more coffee. As she walked back towards the kitchen I kind of shook my head. Two kids, three jobs and a car she can’t count on.
My breakfast done. I got up from my booth. Walked over to the guy sitting at the counter.
“Hi. How are you?”
He looked at me and literally grunted.
“Who are you?” He asked.
“Oh! I’m the guy who is suppose to remind you how to get really good service here.”
“How you do that?” He asked.
I smiled. Now I could be on the way to ducking a right hook here. But a point had to be made.
“Two secret words, my friend……start using ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’”
I walked over to the till. The waitress came over to ring up my bill.
“I heard that,” she said.“Thank You!”
“Go easy,” I said.
I didn’t look back at her or the driver in his jammies. I do what I usually do. You see every morning while I’m getting myself from the horizontal to the vertical, I ask for three simple things.
Graditude, humility, and that in some small way, I get a chance to help somebody.
More often than not it doesn’t involve giving money, or trying to fix something or someone. Yeah! Most times it involves keeping your head out of your own butt and making yourself available to practice the one life skill so many lack: listening.
Hug your children
Love your family
Say a kind word to a stranger.