Something For Stevie - CiteHR
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Something For Stevie

by Dan Anderson

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 Down 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 peppershaker 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 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 Down 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, 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 going to be okay."

"I was wondering where he was. 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 face.

"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 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 procession. 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. Plant a seed and watch it grow.



Recipe for Greatness

By Zane Grey

To bear up under loss;

to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief;

to be victor over anger;

to smile when tears are close;

to resist disease and evil men and base instincts;

to hate hate and to love love,

to go on when it would seem good to die;

to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be.

That is what any man can do, and so be great.

The Cab Ride

By Author Unknown (submitted by Rebekah)

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".

"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. "How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said,

but

they will always remember how you made them feel.

True Greatness

by C.E. Flynn

A man is as great as the dreams he dreams,

as great as the love he bears;

As great as the values he redeems,

and the happiness he shares.

A man is as great as the thoughts he thinks,

as the worth he has attained;

As the fountains at which his spirit drinks,

and the insight he has gained.

A man is as great as the truth he speaks,

as great as the help he gives,

As great as the destiny he seeks,

as great as the life he lives

Wings for Goals, a goal in itself

by Catherine Pulsifer

After I wrote my first book, Wings for Wisdom, I had many people ask me how I did it. I would reply, "I set a goal." Many of them looked at me strangely after I had said that. "What do you mean," they would say. I would then give them a step by step description of how I did it.

I had read many books on goal setting, I had implemented bits and pieces of each of these books in my life. Some of the books went on and on; they would make your eyes glaze over!

So, I decided to write my second book, Wings for Goals. I wanted a book that was short and sweet. One that was to the point about goal setting.

So, of course, I set my goal and started to write the book, Wings for Goals.

I can honestly say that setting goals has changed my life. I have accomplished things in my life by setting goals that I previously only dreamed about. Goals do work.

There is a saying, "you have a gold mine, when you have a goal mind". And, it is true.

Of course, you can put your pen to paper, write down your goals, but the most important thing is to take action and complete each step of your goal.

And lastly, goals are not written in stone. If you don't make a timeframe or your plans change, then change your goals. But, the most important thing is that goals help you focus on what you want in your life!

To quote Dwight Eisenhower, "accomplishments will prove to be a journey, not a destination." Your goals will be a journey, and you will see accomplishments, and one goal will lead to another!

By setting goals and taking action, you will accomplish more in a year than most people accomplish in a lifetime!

Dare To

by Meiji Stewart

Dare to...

Ask For What You Want.

Believe in Yourself.

Change Your Mind.

Do What You Love.

Enjoy Each And Every Day.

Follow Your Heart's Desire.

Give More Than You Receive.

Have a Sense of Humor.

Insist On Being Yourself.

Join In More.

Kiss and Make up.

Love and Be Loved.

Make New Friends.

Nurture Your Spirit.

Overcome Adversity.

Play More.

Question Conformity.

Reach for the Stars.

Speak Your Truth.

Take Personal Responsibility.

Understand More, Judge Less.

Volunteer Your Time.

Walk Through Fear.

X-perience The Moment.

Yearn for Grace.

be Zany.

May This Encourage You, Always

By Author Unknown

(thanks to Claire for submitting)

Don't spend major time with minor people.

If there are people in your life who continually disappoint you, break promises, stomp on your dreams, are too judgmental, have different values and don't have your back during difficult times...that is not friendship.

To have a friend, be a friend.

Sometimes in life as you grow, your friends will either grow or go. Surround yourself with people who reflect values, goals interests and lifestyles.

When I think of any of my successes,

I am thankful to God from whom all blessings flow, and to my family and friends who enrich my life.

Over the years my phone book has changed because I changed, for the better.

At first, you think you're going to be alone, but after awhile, new people show up in your life that make it so much sweeter and easier to endure.

Remember what your elders used to say,

"Birds of a feather flock together.

If you're an eagle, don't hang around chickens:

Chickens can't fly

A Wake Up Call

by Catherine Pulsifer

The story below is a true story that happened in September.

During the month of September, a dear friend of mine lost her husband suddenly in an accident. The tragedy was a shock to everyone.

This accident was sudden and certainly unexpected. It drove home the realization that you just don't know when a loved one is no longer going to be with you. We sometimes take our love ones for granted, and we expect that they will be with us forever. However, as we all know, life does not work that way and sometimes we get a wake up call that shocks us and makes us stand back and realize how short life is.

In consoling her, I tried to imagine if I was in her shoes how would I feel. It was impossible to imagine what she was going through. What words do I say to help her?

Sometimes words just can not express our feelings. Sometimes our actions are much more meaningful than words. A hug can sometimes express more than our words will ever express. Sometimes, just being there to listen is more meaningful and helpful to people.

A SECOND WAKE UP CALL,

As I was leaving the funeral parlor, I ran into a Marilyn. (Marilyn has been a true friend to me over the years. She is one of those friends who is with you in the good times and is always by your side in the bad times. She has a sense of humor that makes everyone laugh and she makes everyone feel at ease.) We chit chatted for a few moments, and then she asked me how my job was. So I started talking and talking and talking (am sure she wished she had never asked, ha) I was having a stressful week with my job and I was telling her all the issues and how I was feeling. She listened to me as I was raving about my frustrations, then without saying a word, she took her hands and placed them on my face, and said to me,

"But at least you had a day."

The touch of her hands on my cheeks, the calmness in her voice, and the words she spoke,

"BUT AT LEAST YOU HAD A DAY",

hit me like a ton of bricks. All the frustrations, all the stress that was building up inside of me - came to a complete stop.

Since that day, when I start feeling stressed, I remind myself of Marilyn's words - but at least I had a day! Things could be a lot worse, the stress of the situation always could be worse, but I am alive and I have a lot to be thankful for - so I shall not waste my days with stress and frustrations - Life is too short!

Peace Begins With Me

By Richard D. Marco III

Peace begins with me

Starting over and breaking free.

Peace begins with me

Opening my eyes and beginning to see.

Peace begins with me

Curious about what I am going to be.

Peace begins with me

Knowing I no longer have to flee.

Peace begins with me

Having self dignity.

Peace begins with me

Taking on more responsibility.

Peace begins with me

Because peace is being happy.

And this is why peace begins with me

The Greeting Card That Woke Me Up

by Byron Pulsifer © 2007

Life is easy, change is easy, and everything is easy. If only this was true. How often have we looked at successful people in almost any walk of life and wished we could have what they have. It seems so easy for them. Well, nothing is as easy as it seems. But, what makes the difference; what has made other people's success look easy?

Not to long ago, I was faced with what appeared to be a brick wall. After leaving a corporate environment for greener pastures, I found that the other side wasn't any greener, nor did there seem to be any grass at all. No matter what I attempted to do, I was invariably knocked back to square one. So, I started another business venture, again to be knocked back to square one.

I began to doubt my own confidence; maybe I had made a fatal error. Maybe, I should go back to what I did before. At least, it seemed to be a much more secure and safer environment. As I contemplated my future, I received a card in the mail from a friend of mine who knew how I was struggling. The card read: "Persistence; persistence prevails when all else fails".

I sat there reading that card, once, twice, three times. What did these words mean for me? Were these words just that; words, nothing more? When you're faced with an uncertain future, when all you try seems to go nowhere, maybe there was more truth to these words than I realized.

Maybe, I hadn't found the right recipe for success. On the other hand, maybe I had given up too soon. Ever heard the expression 'back up and re-load'. Well, if you haven't, it meant to me that I should start again but this time internalizing the words "persistence prevails when all else fails".

To make a long story short, I did persevere; persistence paid off with a good dose of patience realizing that a new beginning doesn't emerge to success overnight. After all, in my former corporate career, I had invested years of education and training to become successful. Why should it be any different when I started a new business venture?

Failure is the incapacity to learn from your mistakes. Success is the capacity to learn, to persist, to persevere in order to reach your goal. Life can be filled with failures, but only those who don't persevere adopt failure as the way it has to be

Life's Mirror

By Madeline Bridges

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,

There are souls that are pure and true,

Then give the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.

Give love, and love to your life will flow,

A strength in your utmost need,

Have faith, and a score of hearts will show

Their faith in your word and deed.

Give truth, and your gift will be paid in kind;

And honor will honor meet;

And a smile that is sweet will surely find

A smile that is just as sweet.

Give pity and sorrow to those who mourn,

You will gather in flowers again

The scattered seeds from your thoughts outborne,

Though the sowing seemed but vain.

For life is the mirror of king and slave,

'Tis just what we are and do;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you From : Words of Wisdom

Hi This is Very well written Definitely very interesting And obviously enlighting..... Thanks for sharing this Looking forward to more of these from you :)
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