I saw a story in the news last week about a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant in Texas who went above and beyond to assist a customer who needed a helping hand – literally. The elderly man was having trouble cutting up his food, and told the waitress that his hands were “not functioning too well.” She immediately picked up a knife and fork and cut up his food for him. Another customer saw this act of kindness, took a picture of it, and posted it online. The photo quickly went viral.

In addition to the praise heaped on the 18-year-old waitress, Texas Southern University awarded her a $16,000 scholarship, and a counselor was assigned to help her with the enrollment process.

I love reading stories like this. It’s nice just to read about somebody taking the time to do something to help another person in need, and it’s even better when they are recognized and rewarded for their kindness. It’s all the more refreshing because it’s the total opposite of many of the photos and comments that are posted online these days.

I have to acknowledge that one of my personal pet peeves has to do with the invasion of privacy that came about when cell phones advanced to the level at which anyone is able to snap a photo, capture a conversation, or record a video of someone else, with neither their knowledge nor their consent. It’s the “Big Brother is watching” state of affairs that George Orwell wrote about in 1984. That is to say, in the book entitled Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was actually published in 1949. In the novel, the government could spy on anyone, at any time. Today, in real life and thanks to our cell phones, we all can.

But my intention here is not to get on a soapbox about this, other than to acknowledge that it’s the way life is today. Instead, I simply want to cheer an instance in which it’s being used to highlight someone being helpful and thoughtful, instead of catching someone off-guard or showing them at their worst. I especially love that this waitress wasn’t doing her good deed for the camera, or for any ulterior motive. She was just helping someone who needed a hand. And she was richly rewarded for it.

I hope stories like this will inspire other people to be courteous and helpful to those around them. Not because they hope to get “caught in the act” and rewarded for it. Not because “Big Brother” may be watching. But just because it’s the right thing to do.

March 23, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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