This morning, someone woke up to serve me—a lesson I learned during the recent wintry weather.
Heading out to McDonald’s to get some breakfast, I was silently cursing that Mother Nature had dumped yet another snowfall in my city. I felt put out, and wanted my coffee. But I didn’t know if I could maneuver my way to the car.
I came across a man with a shovel, bundled up against the brazen wind. He threw himself into the work, cleaning sidewalks and steps to the second-floor unit where I live. Good thing for me, since my boots had a hole in them and tennis shoes just weren’t enough to keep my feet dry.
This was solitary, thankless work. I looked around. The man and I were the only two people in the parking lot on this quiet early morning. I voiced my appreciation for his service. He stopped momentarily, smiled. The smile thawed the frigid air between us.
I got to McDonald’s to find it closed, though it was already slightly after the 6:00 a.m. opening time. Inside, I spotted employees busily mopping the floors. Nearly frozen by the chilly wind, I knocked on the door, irritated that I was barred from the warmth inside.
Just then, the manager rushed to the door to let me in.
“We got flooded late last night and I spent overnight getting it cleaned up,” he said. I felt guilty for feeling so selfish. The man personally served up my coffee, with a smile. I came back for a refill, and he was right there with a cheery disposition and friendly banter.
I learned a lot from my experiences on that wintry day. Many people who may seem to blend in with the landscape of my day get up every morning with me in mind. These are people in the service industry who get little credit, little notice.
To the restaurant manager and the man with the shovel:
Thanks, guys. You made my day, week, year.
Tomorrow morning, who will I wake up to serve?
--By Ron Cooper