“We’re not in Arizona anymore,” I thought to myself. It didn’t happen overnight, but it sure does seem like it. It was mid afternoon, Waffle House, the waitresses and cooks were changing shifts and I was in desperate need of sustenance from the old fashioned coffee joint.
There were only five customers in the place that seats around thirty folks when I strolled in, all men. I sat with my back to the south so I could see the street and parking lot out the almost completely glass front and sides that sits atop an old white speckled ceramic tile about three feet off the ground.
The guy closest to me was around my age, looking out from under his silver glasses as he relished the single waffle he was obviously accustomed to. A kid, probably early twenties, sat at the tiny bar in a swivel chair, his back to the street. He sported designer shades pushed back on his head, a hairstyle and beard stolen from Justin Timberlake. The kid also had the ever popular rings stretching his earlobes that you could pass a rope through.
Two other guys, probably late sixties sat opposite me by the tiny bathrooms, both wearing cowboy hats and work shirts that spoke to a fashion and generation all but gone. I like those types, they usually don’t like me, but I appreciate their value system, generally speaking.
The older fella’s with hair growing like wild flowers out of their noses and ears gave me the stink eye glance on my way to the restroom. Gym clothes, pony tail. I don’t blame them. They looked away quickly, they didn’t want trouble. They’ve lived long enough to know it’s better to gamble with dollars that you’re own hide.
After my quick trip to the restroom, my water and coffee greeting me kindly, I was the last one to spot the waitresses in outside who just finished their shift. One lady I’d guess was mid twenties, the other mid sixties. They were wrestling with a little yellow car in the parking lot.
“Can you watch my bag?” I asked my waitress pointing to my briefcase as I headed for the door.
“Sure,” she answered.
“What are you doing?” I asked the relieved waitresses.
“The reverse is out on my girlfriend’s car,” the elder of the two announced.
I pushed the little car backward up the slight grade with a, “There you go!”
“Thank you so much!” they both called back.
The fresh shift looked at me with appreciation, although surprise. The men pretended like they’d not seen a thing, everything short of the guilty whistle while looking the other way, except the kid, he looked at me like I wasn’t human. As if he was trying to figure out what in the world would possess a human being to help out another.
I’m not sure when society forgot how to help out a stranger. That’s the kind of help you’d offer anyone regardless of gender if needed. The fact that not one man in the place had the automatic instinct to help was disturbing to me. The act isn’t even a matter of Christian values – it’s just plain ole’ manners!
Our new society is missing out on one of the greatest gifts created by God Himself; the act of giving and helping.
I wonder how many folks look in the mirror and avoid eye contact with who they see in the reflection these days…