June 9, 2009

Old Man Terry

I only recently began working the morning shifts. They are not my favorite, not by a stretch, but because of weird school scheduling and trying to have a little time to spend with husband, I decided to drop some weekend night shifts.
This was when I was first introduced to Terry. A quite particular elderly man that comes in every afternoon, at the same time, sits in the same booth and orders the same thing.
Now, I often wonder what it would be like to be a regular. Is it the food item that they love so much, is it the company of a familiar face that keeps them coming back, or is it to be in a place where you feel so comfortable, and accepted. Whatever it may be, the Steakhouse has plenty of regulars, as do most restaurants.
Terry however, is a different kind of regular. Not because he is difficult to wait on, quite the contrary in fact. He is simple, leaves a decent tip, and is very friendly. It must just be the look in his eyes. He sits for hours just stirring his coffee. He looks as though he is waiting for someone who never shows up and It seems as if he if often holding back a floodgate of emotions, always looks as if he is about to cry.
I always feel a bit depressed when I am serving him. His emotional turmoil just really takes it out of me. I feel as though I should do more for him, smile more, laugh more, show him a good time so that maybe he will seem happy, if not but just for a short while.
Just recently there have been some major changes to the menu, and we have featured some new items. In honor of Terry, we have named his "usual" after him. A grilled Italian chicken sandwich with fried zucchini and squash.
Last week I arrived at work early to begin my opening duties when I saw Terry sitting outside. I reminded him we didn't open for an hour, but that I would let him come in and have a cup of coffee. When I sat him in his usual booth, I dropped a menu on the table and told him to decide what he wanted. He looked at me a bit confused and told me that I already knew what he wanted, so I explained to him that unfortunately his usual was taken off the menu, and that he would have to find something else, but that luckily we had replaced his chicken sandwich with something similar so he was in luck. I snuck around the corner and watched as he tore through the menu looking for the new item that had replaced his beloved sandwich. And then he spotted it. Terry's Chicken Addiction. He cried first. And then he laughed. I couldn't help but get emotional, considering this was the happiest I've ever seen him. He shuffled as fast as he could around the restaurant hugging everyone he could get his hands on, and thanking us all for the honor. And then he left the restaurant smiling, singing, and still crying tears of joy.
It was a good day.

16 comments:

K.H. said...

That is the most adorable story!

Masquerade said...

Awww! That's awesome! My old job used to do that too. The menu items were named after the owner's grandkids and friends.

P.S. - love your blog! :D

cd0103 said...

What a great story! I have tears in my eyes.

redgirl said...

Yay! Such happiness :)

Fay said...

Congratulations! I have finished my review of "Confessions of a Part Time Waitress" and I'm pleased to inform you that your blog will appear on the Blogging Women directory shortly.

I've enjoyed reading through your blog post (still have more to go through) and look forward to future post.

Welcome aboard and continued success with this blog

SkippyMom said...

Absolutely lovely. Give my best to Terry! and the sandwich sounds yummy :)

jadler said...

This is about the blogspot/tumblr issue you brought up on the tumblr blog. I commented (I'm JessicaHeleneAdler) but this is a little more helpful: http://terrymhung.com/jtran/tumblr/import-blogger-to-tumblr.php

This helps you import posts to tumblr from Blogger.

jadler said...

Also... that was a great story!

purplegirl said...

Oh my gosh, that is just so sweet!

littleorphanammo said...

I totally cried reading this. Ugh...breaks my heart into delightful little pieces.

Maeve said...

That is so beautiful! I love it!

brit said...

that is the perfect photo for the story haha, he looks just like he has tears in his eyes, reminiscing about his past. I wish our regulars were cute and cuddly like Terry...

Rachele said...

Wow, that actually made me cry!

Great blog you have here :-) I just discovered it today via your comment on Cake Wrecks and am already addicted, lol!

*virtually tipping you 30%*

Phil R. Ollenberg said...

That is absolutely awesome, glad to hear people can give enough of a damn about their customers to do something like that!

brypie said...

aww this made me feel warm inside :)

Anonymous said...

That's the sweetest story ever. :]