The crazy lady? That would be me.

I was walking home from work, thinking about how cold my ears were. And how the hot flashes never come around when you need them.

I walked by Applebee’s and looked in the window. There was a woman smiling and laughing, like she was having the time of her life. Her smile was captivating, contagious, glorious. Across from her a small girl was standing on the seat in the booth. She smiled, too, and waved at me. I waved back, then kept walking. After a few steps, I decided to turn around. I’ve let some moments pass and then regretted it. I didn’t want that to happen today.

Whitney and her luminous smile

I swept into the restaurant and past the host like the woman I was, one on a mission. Except I missed the little doorway, ended up in the bar, and had to take a few more turns before I found my way to their table.

“Excuse me, hi,” I said. “I was just walking by. You have a beautiful smile!” The woman thanked me politely, glancing across the booth at the little girl and another young woman who was sitting there. The little girl was waving her broccoli around. I felt kind of silly and self-conscious. The table was loaded with food and I didn’t want it to get cold.

The first woman said her name was Whitney. The other woman, Lashandra, said she was the little girl’s mother. They must have thought I was really a nut, standing there all bundled up, kind of stammering. “Look,” I said. “I don’t want to keep you from your meal. I just came in here because I want you to have this. It’s for the baby.” I held a $100 bill out to Lashandra. She took it and just stared at it. After a pause she said, “Wow. I think I’m gonna cry! Thank you so much!”

“That’s a blessing, right there,” said her friend, smiling and shaking her head. Lashandra held the bill out to the little girl and said, “Look, baby! This is for you!” She told me the baby needed some clothes and she could really use the money.

Lashandra and her baby

I told them about the blog but not a lot of details. They wanted to know how they could find it and said I could take their pictures. I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy, but they were very grateful.

Just down the block I saw Frank (A Regular Person) in front of Peet’s coffee. I walked up to him and hi. He looked at me, kind of puzzled. “You look really familiar,” he said. Then recognition dawned. “You’re the hundred dollar lady!”

We had a nice chat. He’s doing really well, has some work with his dad’s roofing company and finished a comic book he’d been working on for a while. It’s about the first time he was in jail, for selling drugs. I bought a copy and he let me take his picture. I thought he looked great, quite distinguished.

He reached his hand out to shake mine, then let it drop. He opened his arms wide. “Awww, give me a hug,” he said. “Just give me a hug!” So I did.

A reunion with Frank

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7 Responses to The Crazy Lady at Applebee’s

  1. andrea gehrke says:

    Very amazing. Again. Love reading your posts, Jill. However, I being an innate and oft times inane worrier am a bit concerned that your hundred “hundreds” will run out way before 2011. Do you have any set pattern to this while thing? Or are you just winging it?

  2. Jill Ginsberg says:

    Hilarious! That you are worried I will run out of money! And I’m NOT worried about running out of money! Ha! That is “rich”! (ok, now I know an alien has taken over my brain…)
    I actually think I’m not too far off schedule. Maybe a little. Lashandra’s C-note was #12. I’ve had a couple of people offer to “sponsor” a week or more. So, to answer your question – I guess I am kind of winging it! Letting the currency flow. I so appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. Thank you!! Jill

  3. DJan says:

    There are worse things to be known for than “the crazy lady at Applebees” — crazy like a guardian angel. Awesome interaction here, Jill.

  4. sam says:

    wow thats really cool

  5. Sharetta Butcher says:

    I always thought one day I would read one of these wonderful stories and know someone in it!

    I know Whitney!

    Dr. Jill you are a true Angel! What a Day!

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