I got an unexpected email from one of my sisters last night that said she had done something so “un-Denise” (her name). She and her husband own and operate their own restaurant in the outer banks of North Carolina called Froggy Dog. They employ young adults from all over the world to help them run this amazing restaurant every season. These kids come back year after year because of Fred and Denise and the opportunity they provide and the care they receive while in the United States under their employ.
My sister is no wallflower. She’s got a strong work ethic and demands a lot from her staff ~ I saw that when we had the pleasure to visit them. She keeps them on their toes, pulls no punches with the expectations and verbalizes those expectations professionally. I tell you this because Denise considers herself somewhat introverted; usually not speaking to people she doesn’t know. It’s true; she keeps to herself if she doesn’t know you and is really quite content in that quiet state of privacy.
She and I are both improving, though, in stretching ourselves and I wanted to share what she did because it was so simple. It was simple but not typical. It was out of character and how often are we afraid to take a leap and do something that surprises ourselves? What are we afraid of?
My sister had a flight delayed and found herself in the midst of a 3 hour layover in a terminal restaurant when a young man, in Army fatigues, ended up sitting next to her. My sister, in fact, was on her way to see her son and his family, also military. The 22 year old soldier called his mother and the discussion was about when they were going to put up the Christmas tree as a family and that he’d be home after his flight delay and his wedding the following week…a life to be picked up where it had left off 2 Iraq tours earlier.
When he got off the phone, my sister chatted with him and learned he hadn’t seen his mom in 3 years and that he had lost his brother in the war. She said he did most of the talking but she listened ~ she was open to the conversation.
Before she left, she discreetly picked up this war veterans tab and caught her plane. Her last words in the email to me were “I FEEL GREAT!!”.
How great do you think his mother would have felt to know that her son felt welcomed home by a stranger? How great do you think that soldier felt when he went to pay his bill and found it had been taken care of? How great do you think the bartender felt, witnessing someone extend gratitude to our young soldier?
Sometimes when we open ourselves up to something that feels awkward or uncomfortable, it results in GREATNESS. I need to remember that the next time I feel intimidated or inundate myself with the “what-if’s” that I so consistently do. Good job, Denise… you made me feel great, too!