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a heart warming story...

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  • Shelli Buhr
    I dont usually send stuff like this out but this one really touched my heart. I just wanted to remind you of how you all touch me. Many Blessings, Shelli
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1, 2002
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      I dont usually send stuff like this out but this one really touched my
      heart. I just wanted to remind you of how you all touch me.

      Many Blessings,

      Something for Stevie

      I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie.
      His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good,
      reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped
      employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my
      Customers would react to Stevie.

      He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and
      thick-tongued speech of Downs syndrome. I wasn't worried about
      most of my trucker customers, because truckers don't generally
      care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good
      and the pies are homemade.

      The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the
      mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who
      secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of
      catching some dreaded "truck stop germ"; the pairs of white
      shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck
      stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people
      would be uncomfortable around Stevie, so I closely watched him
      for the first few weeks.

      I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my
      staff wrapped around his stubby little finger and within a
      month, my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck
      stop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of
      the customers thought of him.

      He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to
      laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his
      duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place,
      not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got
      done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to
      wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished.

      He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one
      foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was
      empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully
      bus dishes and glasses onto the cart and meticulously wipe the
      table up with a practiced flourish of his rag.

      If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker
      with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job
      exactly right and you had to love how hard he tried to please
      each and every person he met.

      Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who
      was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on
      their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from
      the truck stop. Their Social worker, who stopped to check on
      him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks.

      Money was tight and what I paid him was probably the difference
      between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent
      to a group home.

      That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last
      August; the first morning in three years that Stevie missed
      work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new
      valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said
      that people with Downs syndrome often had heart problems at an
      early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance
      he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at
      work in a few months.

      A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning
      when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing
      fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a
      little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle
      Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the
      sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory
      shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron
      and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

      He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.
      "We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and is going to
      be okay." "I was wondering where he was, Belle said. I had a
      new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"

      Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers
      sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed.
      "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK", she said, "But I don't
      know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills.
      >From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is."

      Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully and Frannie hurried off to wait
      on the rest of her tables.

      Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie
      and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing
      their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After
      the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a
      couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her

      "What's up?" I asked. "I didn't get that table where Belle
      Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left,
      and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back
      to clean it off" she said. "This was folded and tucked under a
      coffee cup."

      She handed the napkin to me and three $20 bills fell onto my
      desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters,
      was printed, "Something For Stevie."

      "Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I
      told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete
      looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving
      me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had
      "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills
      were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet,
      shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply "truckers."

      That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day
      Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker
      said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could
      work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday.
      He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was
      coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was
      in jeopardy.

      I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the
      parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
      Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he
      pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his
      apron and busing cart were waiting.

      "Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and
      his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To
      celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is
      on me."

      I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.
      I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as
      we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder,
      I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the

      We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered
      with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting
      slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First
      thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said!

      I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his
      mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something
      for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10
      bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at
      all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with
      his name printed or scrawled on it.

      I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and
      checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies
      that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."

      Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody
      hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.
      But you know what's funny?

      While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each
      other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy
      clearing all the cups and dishes from the table.

      Best worker I ever hired.

      Author Unknown

      from MountainWings:
      A great story but understand that people with bad and good
      spirits come in all walks of life. Yuppies, businessmen, and
      truckers. . . all have their share of good and bad.

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    • luvpotion121
      Thank you Shelli. This is a warm hearted story. When we all learn to love openly and equally, humanity will feel the bliss of one another, through the power of
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 1, 2002
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        Thank you Shelli.
        This is a warm hearted story.
        When we all learn to love openly and equally, humanity will feel the
        bliss of one another, through the power of love.

        With love, Polly
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