Pin It Once a month I organize ‘The Breakfast Club’—a traditional gathering of teachers that all used to work together at my first school. Funny that I should say ‘my first school’ when I’ve only been a certified teacher at two.
On this particular Saturday I chose The Cracker Barrel as our meeting place. This was mostly because it was a place we hadn’t gone to yet, and it’s variety that adds the zing into daily life.
We were seated amid the hubbub of dozens of conversations that rained about us with the clinking of plates and silverware. We perused the menus, and made our selections. Soon afterward our meals arrived, and we began to enjoy the wonderful food before us, all drenched in frothy butter and rich maple syrup.
Just the way food should be…
As we were eating, one of the teachers noted a silvery-haired woman in a red coat; she was seated with her daughter and granddaughter at a table near ours. He identified her as a retired member of the school board, who had always been going to bat for teachers. He told us all about how amazing she was, and about the positive difference she’d made in the school district.
I decided to go and thank her. I approached her table and, after a few moments, we were laughing together—having remembered many of the same people and things in the educational circles in which we’d both worked. At one point, she turned to our table and said something to the effect of:
“You people are doing the greatest job of all time, working with children. I salute you and the work that you do. You’ll have no idea just how much good you’re doing in this world…”
I was flattered.
We all were.
A few minutes later we returned to our table-bound worlds. My friends and I continued our conversations and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
The waitress who’d brought our bills only a few minutes before returned, saying that she needed to ‘borrow’ them for just a moment—she assured us that she was not adding anything to them, but just needed to see them again.
It wasn’t long before we were ready to leave, but still awaiting our bills. Our waitress finally returned, smiling as wide as Christmas and said, “Your meals have already been paid for by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. You have a great day, now.”
All eyes fell to the silvery-haired woman in the red coat, now absorbed in deep conversation with her daughter.
We were all speechless.
The woman gave no hint as to what she’d done. She expected no thanks or repayment. She’d wanted to remain anonymous.
As a collective group we decided not to mention what she’d done—because like I said before, she’d wanted to remain unidentified. As we left though, we did thank her for the years she’d spent fighting for the rights of educators.
Her twinkling eyes and rosy smile sent us all on our way.
I’m still smiling, even now.