Meeting strangers can be an odd experience. I love to talk to people of all colors, shapes, sizes and life experiences, so when I was 13 I got a job. I was a waitress in a small family style restaurant. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard the strange things that you encounter as a waitress. And despite what people say contrariwise, you CAN tell when it’s a full moon, because we always got the most eccentric people in on those nights. Some people’s stories I never did learn, as they were just passing through. But we had our regulars. I’ve always had a compassion for those with mental illnesses, and it really bothered me when some of the waitresses would not wait on those who were “different”. We had one young man who came in who obviously had problems. He was never violent, just very much in his own mind , his own world. A bunch of the girls said to me , “You go wait on him. He smells funny, and he thinks your his girlfriend!” and they laughed and laughed. Things like that just make me burn! Of course , he was always polite, but he was just very different. And he talked about a lot of REALLY different things. I got to have a lot of experiences like that, and I think I’m better for them. But I guess if had to name the MOST unexpected thing I ever heard from a stranger, it would be this. A very quiet man came through our drive through one night, and ordered. He spoke so softly I had to lean to hear him when he came around to pay. He was dressed very neatly and cleanly, and was driving a VERY nice car. A Jag. I had never seen him in the restaurant before, and wondered who he was. Before I could make polite conversation, he asked me , “Are you from here?”, I replied yes. “What is your name?”, he wanted to know. So I told him, Jeanette. He took his food bag from my hand and ever so softly says to me, “The most beautiful women in the world are named Jeanette.” , and he drove away. I only saw him a few more times after that, and he never said anything else other than “Thank you.” or what he needed to say to order his food. I did find out later what the man’s name was, and where he lived. Sometimes I miss waitressing, and seeing and meeting all those unique people. I don’t mind the differences. Different to me is just a kind of beautiful. Maybe you have to dig a little deeper, or look through the glass just a certain way. But the ugliest people I’ve ever known were the ones who were ugly on the outside.
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