ThatToday’s Word: ‘That’ as in… I want to be like THAT guy!

Traveling home from the Dominican Republic, I arrived at JFK for a two-hour layover. Walking from “Gate-C-way-over-here” all the way out to “Gate-B-near-the-end-of-the-world” I worked up quite an appetite. So I stopped to eat something.

For several minutes I watched Darrell completing several orders at once. Like a dancer, he moved from his work station to the counter calling out the names on the orders. This was not without confusion: two guys named Dan got each other’s order. Shelly got a drink that should have been diet. Darrell handled it all with confidence, composure and grace. He was amazing.

But Paul Gauche being Paul Gauche simply couldn’t NOT say something.

“Hey, great job back there!” I said over the top of the crowd. Darrell looked up.

“You still waiting?” he asked.

“Yup, but take your time, I’m all good” I said, and then added, “I’m just here to cheer you on as my brother from another mother.”

Darrell looked my way again, smiled broadly and then went back to his task. Four minutes later Darrell walked to the counter and set my order down. He peeled off his purple latex gloves and said,

“I just want to shake your hand. Thank you for what you said. We don’t get much of that around here and I just want to thank you.”

I paused, then said, “Here’s what I’m going to do: tonight when I take a moment to say some Big Thanks, I’m going to say some Big Thanks for you.”

And I did.

I thanked God for Darrell because, while I set out to make a small difference in his life, he made a big difference in my life and in the lives of a dozen people who happened to be standing in line for a burger and some fries. He gave everyone a bunch more: he gave us joy, humor, a deeper sense of love, grace and gratitude. And he modeled hospitality.

I walked away thinking to myself, “I want to be like THAT guy.”


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