Every year, Sandy and I go with a group of close friends for a night on the town in an area of Atlanta called “Buckhead.” If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a quick quote out of Wikipedia.
“The Robb Report magazine has consistently ranked Buckhead one of the nations “10 Top Affluent Communities” due to “the most beautiful mansions, best shopping, and finest restaurants in the Southeastern United States. Due to its wealth, Buckhead is sometimes promoted as the “Beverly Hills of the East” an area to which it is often compared.”
In short, we go down for a night of great food, great friends, and too much fun!
This year we did it right. Instead of going down on New Year’s Eve, we went down New Year’s Day. We’d booked our rooms on Priceline, so all five couples were staying at the Grand Hyatt on Peachtree Rd. Basically, Buckhead was deserted, so we had free reign of the place for two days. Seems that everyone had blown it out New Year’s Eve, so all the restaurants and bars were ours—no waiting at all.
On the following morning, it’s become a tradition to walk a few blocks down Peachtree to a restaurant called the Corner Bakery Café. It’s a very neat “Hole-in-the-Wall” that serves breakfast all day. We usually try to get there around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.
Let me tell you why it’s special and the point of this story.
There’s a lady that’s worked there for as long as we’ve been going. Her name is Yvonne. I don’t know how old Yvonne is, and certainly wouldn’t ask, but I can tell you that she’s on “this” side of 50. You figure it out . . .
I do know that she has two grown kids who are 42 and 24 respectively.
Yvonne works the tables. She serves the food and cleans the tables. There are about three ladies that work behind the counter, but Yvonne is on the floor. Did I say she works the tables? That doesn’t do it justice.
Yvonne “LOVES” the tables.
As soon as you walk in the door she greets you. She gives you this huge, authentic smile and welcomes you with open arms.
Did I say, “Open Arms?” That doesn’t do it justice either. Yvonne comes up and “HUGS” you. It’s an embrace. And she does it with EVERYONE! She literally makes you feel like you’re the most special person she’s seen all day. She makes you feel like you’re her most favorite grandbaby and she hasn’t seen you for a year!
What a gift!!!
Here’s the strange part . . . I guess I’ve seen her hug at least 75 to 100 people over the years. I’ve never seen anyone shy away from her. As a matter of fact, many people walk up to her and ask for seconds when they’re leaving.
In this day when we’re afraid to even make eye contact with others, she is loving on the world. And guess what? The world is loving her back!
This week, Sandy and I arrived a little earlier than our friends, so we grabbed two tables and then went to the counter and ordered.
Yvonne gave us our hugs and welcomed us back. (We hadn’t been in for over a year, but she knew us.)
Once our breakfasts were served, we lowered our heads and said a little prayer of thanks over our food.
Within ten seconds, Yvonne came over and said, “I just knew that about you!” with a big smile on her face.
I told her I knew that about her too.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says,
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Love is not about talk. It’s about the actions that you take. And they don’t have to be big. It can be something as simple as smiling at another person. Or opening a door for someone. Or tipping a little bigger than you usually do. Or taking the time to make a call to a person who you know is hurting.
It’s the little things, and Yvonne is a master of these.
Yvonne is a simple person. She works hard and probably has her whole life. She’s gentle, she’s humble, and she’s loving. She expends a lot of energy on this, and I’m pretty sure that when she hits the bed at night, she’s probably exhausted.
But I believe that there will be a greater reward coming her way later.
Matthew 19:30 says, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
I probably eat in over 200 restaurants a year. Usually, I get good service. It’s expected and it’s usually there to make sure that the tip is bigger.
But Yvonne is different. When I look at her service to others, it’s there because of the love in her heart. You can’t fake it. It’s real and it’s genuine.
And I know where it comes from.
So I’ve decided to have only one resolution this year—to be a little more like my friend Yvonne!