Something happened today that served as a reminder that you can’t judge a book by its cover, and to always be thankful for what you have.
I stopped by a gas station on the way to pick up dinner tonight. As I pulled in, I noticed that seated at the 2 tables that the gas station had provided for “diners” were a slightly awkward looking woman and 2 young girls, roughly 4 and 10 years old. Spread across the table was all sorts of burgers and fast food.
What I’m about to write is a little embarrassing I’ll humbly admit that I let my assumptions get the better of me. “That’s what’s wrong with parents today” I thought. “A family meal means gas station burgers at the local Chevron.”
I quickly told myself “you don’t know what their situation is. Maybe it’s what they can afford. Maybe there are other circumstances.” And I slapped myself on the wrist for thinking these negative thoughts about people I’ve never met.
I grabbed a soda and went to check out. This was the first time I noticed the cashier. He was about my age, well kept, smiled constantly and wanted to talk to me about the Apple cup because I was wearing a Husky shirt. He was just one of those people you can’t help but talk to. I found this to be slightly out of place because most gas stations in our area are cashiered by either the owner (who is usually over the age of 50), women in their 40’s (I have no idea why) or guys who look like they just got out of jail, and with the exception of a few of the owners, they are rarely more polite than they absolutely have to be. As someone who worked in some sort of service industry from 6th grade to the age of 24, I pride myself in not making assumptions about a person based on their line of work. I treat everyone with the respect I would want if I was on the other side of the counter. I’m not sure why there isn’t more diversity in gas station cashiers in our area, but that’s what I’ve observed in my 8+ years living in Lynnwood. I found this particular exchange with this particular man to be very refreshing.
He wished me a happy Thanksgiving, and I wished him the same, and I walked out and got in my car. It was only then that I put 2 and 2 together.
I watched the man walk over to the 2 girls at the table. He bent over and gave the youngest of the two girls a hug, bringing a giant smile to his face and hers. The older girl was grinning from ear to ear, as was the woman. You see, they had come to have dinner with their father the night before Thanksgiving. Although I don’t know this for a fact, it was likely that the cashier was working a 2nd job to support his family. Or maybe not. I just know the expressions of love I witnessed were heart warming. A family finding time together. It reminded me that my parents both worked 2nd jobs when I was growing up. Not all the time, and not full time, but they did it. And sometimes we had to build our family routine around the time commitment with working 2 jobs. And we did it. And it reminded me of stories Keri has told me about her parents, and how hard they worked to provide for the family when they first moved to Washington from California. And to think that I almost let my assumptions get the best of me and judged these people without cause. What a nice reminder to love your family and never judge a book by its cover.