I wasn’t intending to give my most recent gift in a fast food restroom. But that’s how it worked out. Well, almost.
It’s spring break for college kids, so Elijah has the week off and arrived home with a friend on Friday night. We had made plans to spend a few days in Vancouver, which is one of our favorite places in the world.
Yesterday the four of us headed off for the six hour journey. It’s not a bad trip, really. Louise and I had our old-lady music at the ready (a mixture of Adele, Barbra Streisand, and Lady Gaga) and the kids both had their iPods and headphones.
When we stopped for lunch at the Centralia Burgerville I thought about my weekly gift. I had been working all day Saturday on another writing project and hadn’t gotten to it. Maybe, I had thought, I’d find someone at a rest stop who was traveling.
While we waited for our food I made a trip to the restroom. I was standing at the sink washing my hands when I heard someone come out of one of the stalls. I was looking down so didn’t see her step up to the sink next to me, but for some reason I thought it was Louise or Elijah’s friend, Mimi.
“Hey,” I said, without looking up. “Hi,” said an unfamiliar voice.
I looked up at the mirror and a pair of fiercely blue eyes met mine. Then I saw the cap.
“You work here?” I asked. She said she did. The she asked if I came in a lot. “No, just passing through,” I admitted. “How is it as a place to work?” Always on the lookout for injustice, I was ready to set up a picket line outside (or, at least, not ever come back) if she gave a negative report.
“It’s great!” she said. “And the food’s really good, too. Everything’s so fresh. It’s so much better than McDonald’s!”
I found her loyalty and enthusiasm moving and realized she could be the perfect recipient for the hundred waiting in my pocket. “You have kids?” I somehow needed to know. She said yes, she has a three-month old baby. “I worked straight into my eighth month of pregnancy! I’m going to school, too.”
I followed her out of the bathroom (maybe a little too eagerly) as she headed back to work. “Just a minute!”
She stopped just outside the door and looked at me. “I want to give you something,” I said, digging in my pocket. I pulled out the hundred. “This is for you.”
She took it but just stared at me. “No…” she started to say.”It’s okay!” I jumped in. “No strings attached!”
I explained very briefly about what I was doing and she just looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes. “I don’t know what to say,” she finally got out. “You’re like an angel. This is amazing. Can I give you a hug?”
We talked for a few more minutes and she let me snap her photo. She said her name was Brittany and she would probably use the money for gas. I told her about the blog. When we arrived at our destination I found a message in my inbox waiting for me.
I met you today at Burgerville and the minute I got home from work I had to check out your blog. I just wanted to thank you again and tell you what your doing is amazing! The $100 you gave me was a god send. I am a single mother and that money you gave me helped me out alot. Not everyone gets a chance to meet someone as generous and amazing as you and I thank god I had the chance to meet you. (even if it was in a bathroom lol). God Bless you! and thank you!
Thank you, Brittany! Burgerville is lucky to have you. And so is that little baby of yours.
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