Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Brain soup and big blessings

The hot and sour soup at Wanfu has magical "smartening" properties and is not to be trifled with. Last night --or rather very early this morning-- I made a journey to the late-night Chinese diner for a big bowl of brain soup, hoping against hope that I'd be able to do some much-needed work on a spiritual analysis paper I have due tomorrow.

At 2:00 a.m. the place was getting ready to close. The dining room was empty except for two cops eating "lunch" and me. When I went up to the counter to pay, I quietly told the young woman that I would like to pay for their meals as well.

At first she didn't believe me, which saddened me because this sort of thing ought not to be so out of place as to provoke disbelief. Eventually she forked over the bill and stood there, dumbfounded as if I were signing away a kidney, not a few bucks for some Orange Chicken.

I paid, left a note saying "Thank you, Merry Christmas and God Bless You" and signed it "a grateful Austinite" and went on my merry way.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I could see through the window the waitress showing the police officers the note. The big blonde one --visibly touched-- smiled from ear to ear and ran his hand through his hair as if he were embarrassed or at a loss for words. The small one smiled gently as he read the note.

well, I'm a big baby --which should surprise no one-- and I cried right there.

I'm not telling you this because I want to show off how good and generous I am, because really I'm not that good OR generous. I'm saying that for a cheap dinner --I think all three of our meals plus a nice tip was under 25 bucks, money I would have blown on something frivolous anyway-- I was able to share in an incredible moment of warmth and grace with three total strangers on one of the coldest nights of the year, and I will remember that waitress's confused look, the blonde cop's illuminated grin, the darker one's small smile for the rest of my life.

It's a Christmas blessing, mine for a bargain price.


Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Great stuff.

7:32 AM  

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