I’m waiting. A practice I am normally not good at, but then again it depends on who or what you are waiting for. I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Dana Point, California. I believe it is a fairly affluent community, most of what lies along the Southern California Coast seems to be. At least that’s my first observation. I’m waiting for Dan who has a job interview up the street. Like I said, it depends on who and what you are waiting for. In my case, my whole world is up the street in the hands of people I don’t know. I can only sit here and wait, hoping that they are smart enough to recognize what I already know. He’s the best man…for the job, as a father, as my husband. Loyal to the core, hardworking, thoughtful, and intelligent beyond description. He’s one of those annoying people who’s turn takes forty minutes playing Trivial Pursuit, or who knows just about every answer on Jeopardy. I asked last night for good karma, I can only hope he feels mine as I write this. Do they care how loved he is? Probably not. Do they care about how many people in our life are pulling for him right now? No. They (and by this I mean all employers) look at a resume and make assumptions, or do the math and figure out how old he is, and then decide he isn’t worth talking to. But if they really did the math they would also figure out just how quickly he went from the guy walking the streets of Chicago selling beer, to running the military for one of the biggest energy drinks in the world, and doing it very successfully. He is the guy who cares about everything he does, no matter what it is. The guy who sees the old person at the store and asks if they need assistance. The guy who can’t walk by someone in need without offering help. Not long ago down in San Diego a homeless guy thanked Dan, not for money, but for the full takeout dinner he bought him from the nice Italian restaurant we were eating at, and more than that, for talking to him like a human being. So people on the other side of the desk up the street, take a good look, and if you see even one tenth of what I see, you will hire him on the spot.
My second observation. When I walked into Starbucks the young man in the line ahead of me was obviously handicapped. He purchased three drinks, and as I watched him put his change in his pocket he handed the barista a twenty-dollar bill, I’m assuming a tip on an order that was less than twenty dollars.Right away it struck me as wrong. I don’t know exactly what was wrong with this young man, but I am old enough to recognize disability. Obviously I don’t know him, he could be a millionaire for all I know, but I just felt that it was wrong to take that twenty. (Then the young barista called me “Miss” instead of “Ma’am” and I forgave him on the spot….just kidding) As I sat sort of stewing about it I remembered something out of my own young past. Mr. Norian. He was a customer at the grocery store I worked at. Cute as a button, probably in his 70’s. Actually if Dopey of Seven Dwarfs fame came to life, he would look like Mr. Norian. He came in the store almost daily. He would flirt with all of us girls in the service desk, sometimes he would bring us coffee. He really liked me, and there were days when he would come in and ask to take me to lunch. I always went. It was always at the Burger King across the street. It went on for several years. Turns out when all of us “Dominick’s Girls” got together, we all knew him, he was doing the same thing at about four stores. Then came they day when we all found out the truth. Mr. Norian was broke, he was playing the system. He befriended all of us in the service desk, not only at Dominick’s, but also our competitors, Jewel and Treasure Island. He was passing checks. Not to accumulate wealth, but to survive. We were all guilty of overriding his check cashing limit. He simply wrote checks to cover checks, for years, before it at last caught up with him. I never would have taken those lunches had I known, in fact I would have bought him lunch. As always, I need to remember not to be too hasty in judging someone else. Sometimes you are young and you just don’t know.