Apple Pie with Tulip Petals
A few months ago, I ran into my friend Dannae at the grocery store. She was pushing a grocery cart that held her two young sons. I hadn’t seen her since before she had her youngest child, and was happy to catch up with her.
She talked about work (she is an elementary school teacher) and then she mentioned that her doctor had just told her that her older boy had a problem with the bone in his leg. As she was speaking I thought, she has been at work all day, she has just gotten bad news, she is here at 5PM with two children under 3 shopping for dinner, and she is as calm as can be. At that moment I knew I would be bringing her a pie.
Dannae and I worked together at a restaurant a long time ago. What I remember from that time is that Dannae was very competent and very comfortable with people… and those are important qualities in the service industry. It didn’t hurt matters that she also had a great smile and an easy laugh.
One memory from that time occurred during one of our training sessions, when Paul Paz of Waiters World, showed a short video. It was the story about an autistic boy who was the team manager of a high school basketball team. As I watched the video, I teared up (which is not unusual for me). I tried to hide this and after the meeting, Dannae was the only person who had noticed (or who cared to comment). It made me realize that her antennae, while not visible, were definitely working.
This morning I contacted Dannae and asked her if I could bring her a pie, and if so, what kind she might like. She told me she was delighted to be included in my pie project and thought that an apple pie would be wonderful. And so tonight I brought Dannae an apple pie to share with her family. I want her to know that I appreciate her for the gifts she brings to her children and her students. They are very lucky to have her.
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”