A greasy dark brown coloring with a small hint of a red
Filthy old baseball cap, worn backwards
Worn out jeans
Worn from years of use, not the least bit from the latest fashion trend
Peering through the dish racks
This is Heath
At least from a first glance
The book by the cover
He reminds me of so many
I instantly decide to like him
And the night moves forward
Back and forth to the dish area
A cup rack full
“I have an up and over, you ready Heath?”
“Cool.” A simple reply and the rack is transferred from our side to his
Crooked teeth showing
Through unkempt facial hair
A ‘wanna be’ beard refusing to hide acne
Black rimmed glasses
The kind that feel as if they should contain a piece of white tape in the middle
“What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you Heath, I’m Michelle”
“Awesome” That toothy grin so familiar
Like a kindergarten child that has recently had a visit from a particular fairy
Over the next few weeks, perhaps even months
I watch this dishwasher work
He’s a turtle to be sure
Slow, yet consistent
No adjustment dial
“Hey there Heath, how we doing today?”
Just another night at the restaurant
“Well Heath, tell me why you are so hungry?”
“Haven’t eaten all day…no money, hope to get some pizza tonight if they mess one up”
“Well I hope they mess one up that just happens to be your favorite kind”
I walk away deciding that if I make my goal in tips tonight, I will treat Heath to supper.
A pizza in his choice.
I can’t help but guess that it is pepperoni
As the night moves on, my goal is achieved.
To be fair, I did set it a bit lower.
“How we doing now Heath?”
“Awesome, dude. Got some pizza and that gave me lots of energy”
“Well how about that! You made my night Heath.”
“cool. It made my night too. Sucks to work when you’re starving.”
A cart comes in with surplus banquet food from the night.
“Don’t throw that away….the servers will eat it.” I interject just as a fresh batch of grapes is about to go overboard. Luckily I know this girl…a close friend of mine.
“We got another cart of fruit and veggies on the way…you’re welcome to it, as long as you clean it up after.” She smiles at me
She bounces out of the room to collect the next round
“Heath, did you hear that?”
“No dude, I was concentrating on the dishes”
“we can eat this food, you’ll be able to eat some more goodies!”
“Nah, I’m good. A pizza is enough”
“Heath, I’m gonna get you a ‘to go’ box and I want you to take some goodies with you.” I’m sure my motherly tone has kicked in
“Nah. I’m cool”
“Heath, it’s okay to take the food they are throwing away. You can do this.”
And I walk away…not waiting for his response
As the night comes to a close
I’d long forgotten that ‘to go’ box
I venture back to the kitchen to deposit some remaining dishes
“hey, what’s your name again?”
“yeah, so you’re going to be super stoked Michelle! Look, I got my own box and it’s full of grapes!!” the toothy grin has returned once again.
I am beaming….
“Well look at you Heath!! You’re going to eat like a king tomorrow too!”
“yeah, you got some cool energy Michelle. You’re all like smiley and stuff and always upbeat.”
“thanks Heath. You’re pretty cool yourself”
And I leave that night feeling so inspired
It’s people like Heath that make life so much brighter