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Why I Love John (Reason #157)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

John and I have recently succumbed to a slight obsession with Cracker Barrel breakfasts.

Proceed judging.

No, wait: first try their thick-cut slabs of extra crispy bacon, and *then* judge us. IF YOU DARE.

Anyhoo, being "professional" bloggers we're rarely awake during traditional breakfast hours, (I'm writing this at 3AM. What.) so we often partake in what Scrubs so delightfully termed "Brinner" - aka, breakfast for dinner.

Mmmm....brinner.

Ok. So. The other week we mosied in to our local Cracker Barrel for a late night Brinner. After being seated by a rail-thin emo guy (is Tijuana Flats no longer hiring?) our server came over to introduce himself. I'm ashamed to say I don't recall his name, but it was something fairly common. Joe? Frank? Bill? Not sure. Let's call him Bill.

Bill had the slightly distracted air of someone with a million things to do, and not enough time to do them. When we ordered, his brow furrowed in concentration, and he repeated a few things back with great care. He wasn't overly friendly - he didn't smile - but he wasn't rude, either. I chalked it up to an off night, and thought nothing of it.

While John and I were in the midst of scarfing down way too many homestyle biscuits (apple butter, you sweet nectar of the heavens, you...) a kindly-looking elderly couple was seated directly behind me. As they sat down, they called out to Bill by name, greeting him with smiles and laughter and a sense of long familiarity. Again, our waiter did not effuse much by way of emotion, but as he talked with them, it dawned on me that his standoffishness wasn't the result of an off night; it was, in fact, the nature he was born with.

Some minutes later, a large group of diners made a mass exodus across the room. A well-dressed man broke off from the group and approached our waiter. "You did good, Bill" the man said warmly, pressing something into his hand. "You did good," he said again, clapped Bill on the shoulder, and left.

At this point John excused himself to the restroom, which is my excuse for the following chronicle of blatant eavesdropping: it was quiet, and I couldn't help overhearing. Honest. [Bambi eyes]

Anyway, what I heard went something like this:

Bill (quietly, to the elderly couple): "You guys, look at this. This man came up to me just now and he said, 'you did good, Bill,' and he shook my hand and then look, he gave me a twenty. A twenty. Can you believe it? I'm doing so good tonight." He said it with a child-like enthusiasm, in a tone of genuine surprise and gratitude.

The couple made happy noises of congratulations, but I didn't quite make them out because I needed my napkin just then to get something out of my eyes.

Bill delivered our check in the same manner he'd begun: efficiently, and with an air of distraction. Only now I think I understood him just a tiny bit better. He hadn't changed, but I'm happy to say that I had.

As we stood in line to pay the check, I told John what I'd heard. Will it show you what saps we are if I tell you that we *both* teared up when I got to the part about Bill's reaction to the tip? Yes? Well, we did. And then John sniffed, and laughed, and said, "Did he really say that? Really? Aw, well, now you know I *have* to beat that twenty."

And he did. Anonymously, and grinning like a fool.

A lovely, gorgeous fool.

Posted by Jen at 12:15 AM Labels:

168 comments:

  1. Oh Jen you definitely have a keeper in John. What a wonderful husband you have. Thank you for sharing the story of Bill with us, it is wonderful to be reminded that we judge people all too often, and since we have never walked in their shoes, it is often not a fair judgment. Please keep up the wonderful blogs.

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  2. What a wonderful story. Perhaps something on the autism spectrum. Things aren't always as they seem!

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  3. awwe how sweet! I'm glad you were able to make Bill's night.

    I too LOVE Cracker Barrel! I wish there was one closer to where I live, but perhaps that's a good thing. :D

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  4. Okay, so you made this John tear up too!

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  5. Awww! As someone who worked in the food industry for a long time (and hated every minute of it), longer than I would have except I couldn't afford groceries, and a shift at a restaurant often involved a comp'd meal, big warm fuzzies to the both of you!

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  6. as a server, i can honestly say that I love John! and apple butter. and extra thick crispy bacon. and of course servers named Bill!
    -Stacy

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  7. That is such an awesome story. If only more people would take the time to learn the story behind people they may otherwise write off. It makes me wonder if this young man had Asperger's or some similar issue that makes social interactions awkward, but is trying to work through them. No matter his story, you and John did something very special. You continue to show you two have genuinely lovely souls. Keep letting them shine through and I hope it spreads!

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  8. Thanks for the feel good story. Needed that today!

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  9. Awww, does John have an eligible brother? And would he happen to like ironing? If so, he might just be my missing soul mate.
    (Not to mention what a cool sis-in-law I'd have.);-)
    What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  10. I too enjoy brinner at Cracker Barrel! Next time I eat a biscuit covered in apple butter I will think of you and this story, and maybe throw in an extra generous tip :). I love reading stories like these from you, it helps me realize that all my favorite bloggers are real people.

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  11. Dang, there must be dust or something in the air here...I'm *not* crying or anything.

    When it comes to waiters, I'd rather one be somewhat distracted rather than too jovial or familiar. Friendly is fine; obsequious is obnoxious. (Ooh, I didn't even TRY to do that.) (Also, waiter in Old Chicago that one time, shooting me a dirty look because I'd undertipped is also obnoxious. I was tired, I'd had a hard day, and was having a bad math night. And while it wasn't a stellar tip, it wasn't two bits, either. You work in a college town, and it was at least as good of a tip as most students can afford. Let's both agree to move on.)

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  12. Awwww, that is seriously adorable! Of course I already knew what great and sweet people you are after what you did for Jacob, but still...this made me smile. <3

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  13. As the mother of a son with special needs, this is the kind of story that gives me hope. Hope that he will not be bullied as he grows up. Hope that people can be kind & understanding. Hope that people will treat my son as an equal, as different, not less. Thank you for sharing.

    You've got a keeper there, & I'm blessed to say that I've got one, too.

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  14. That's cute. It's always a tough call with a waiter whether they are deliberately being trouble or just a particular type of person doing their job their way.

    Also, Cracker Barrel is the best restaurant, ever. Ever. Especially for breakfast.

    That's all.

    Rosalind
    Girls Are Geeks

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  15. And you made this sap tear up, too! Nicely done,Jen and John!

    Yep, Jen, he's a keeper for sure. I speak from experience in these matters, having one of my own.

    I LOVE Cracker Barrel food for binner! Waffle House is also great, but there's just something about Cracker Barrel...

    wv: hoing (seriously) No hoing around at Cracker Barrel during binner!!

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  16. I love it! Thanks for sharing...(feeling teary myself now!)e

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  17. What a lovely story. And a reminder that things aren't always as they seem.

    Also reminds me how I'd like some thick-cut bacon with brinner right about now...

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  18. That's maybe the sweetest thing I've ever read. Thanks, Jen. And John :)

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  19. Do you have another napkin? I need to get something out of my eyes too.

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  20. I'd like to say you arn't the only people who enjoy a good brinner. My boyfriend, some college friends, and I definitely set aside a couple of days a month for some brinner. No Craker Barrels in Canada though....so we're forced to make our own, although one friend's parents own a maple syrup farm, so i guess that makes up for it :)

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  21. I have a slight non-creepy, non-threatening blog crush on your husband. Don't worry because I have one on you,too. ;)

    You guys are wonderful!

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  22. Oh geez, why didn't I buy kleenex this week? You have a winner there ;-) And Bill sounds like he just might be a total sweetheart.

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  23. Long time reader, first time commenter, but after the day I had, this is most definitely a B.A.D.

    I fully agree with previous comments, you've got a keeper in John. He wouldn't happen to have a brother in the Seattle area, would he?

    Also, apple butter, Cracker Barrel, and thick extra crispy bacon. Now I'm hungry, thank you very much :P

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  24. -sniffle- you totally just made this pregnant waitress cry! <3 <3 <3

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  25. What a sweet story! I'm tearing up over here.

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  26. Total husband win there! And you 1 uped that kids night ^.^

    But I have to admit, I got very distracted at the beginning of your post by reminiscing of Cracker Barrel. *drools slightly at the thought of real maple syrup with butter in grits* You see, I used to live in the south and now live in lovely Cali which unfortunately is totally baron of Cracker Barrel. In fact, most of the surrounding states are not graced with the haven of Cracker Barrel. *sigh* Till I travel East, this haven will remain a blissful childhood memory of mine. Thanks for the trip down memory lane :3

    ~Alexandra Collings

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  27. Oh... I teared up too.
    Thank you for sharing and may you have a wonderful week xxx

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  28. And now I have tears in my eyes.

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  29. sniffle :) that's so sweet. yah for john, and yah for you having such a guy.

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  30. Oooo, that is a GREAT reason. And I got a little teary, too. Super job, John!! And thanks for reminding us not to assume someone is an ass just because they're not overly friendly. We're not all built that way.

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  31. You made my day with this story. I just teared up and smiled at the same time...

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  32. My mother worked as a waitress for many, many years, and I remember the days when she would be so frustrated by how mean people could be that she'd just start crying. It's a hard, hard job, and people are quick to judge a server based on...well, nothing, to be honest. Just because they can.

    My husband and I try to make it a policy to always leave a nice tip, and a little note to go along with it when we go out to eat. If we can't afford to leave a minimum of $10-$20, we don't go out. Not many people choose waiting tables as their dream profession. You never know when an extra $20 can make the difference between "making it" and "we can't buy milk and bread this week".

    Example: My sister and I were out (coincidentally, at Cracker Barrel) one night, about an hour before closing time. Our waitress was a total sweetheart, and we actually got to talk to her for a few minutes before our food was ready. Come to find out, she was saving so she could get an apartment, as she and her baby boy were staying with her mother at that point. After eating, we took our slip out to the register, bought a "thank you" card from the little store at the restaurant, and left $100 in cash inside the card, with a little note. We gave her the envelope and managed to "disappear" before she found out what was inside. Sometimes, I think it blessed us at least as much as it did her. :-D

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  33. Thank you SO much for my heart-melt smile today!

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  34. *does not have something in my eye at all*

    John is awesome, that is all.

    :D

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  35. As the sister of two little boys with special needs, it makes me so happy to hear a story like this. Bill is not just succeeding in his job, he's supported by the people around him, and people like John. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. Jen and John,

    On behalf of the World I would like to thank you for being so awesome... in the true sense of the word, you are both truely awe inspiring.

    For a while now I have been a believer in R.A.K (Random Acts of Kindness).

    Faith in humanity..... (tick)

    PS. if either of you have a sister that is willing to move to the UK... ?

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  37. As a waitress, much appreciation goes out to you and your John. I'm sure poor Bill gets lots of customers each night who aren't so thoughtful and understanding.

    I once had someone send an e-mail to the corporate office because I didn't smile enough. Seriously, not because of rudeness or bad service... because of not smiling enough. So, I'm sure Bill has dealt with his fair share. I know John's kindness meant a lot to him!

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  38. I'll take one John clone to go, please!

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  39. Cue tearing up - Thanks for that uplifting story :)

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  40. Ah come on! You can't post something like that late at night. I read it first thing in the morning! Now I'm going to be all pleasant and heart-warmed all day. (Grumbles)

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  41. I didn't know that I could catch that eye thing from a blog... hmm must just be the air quality in the USA...

    thick cut bacon and the cherry topped pancakes are a must!

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  42. Thank you for sharing this. I needed the reminder to be more understanding, and especially more grateful. You're John sure is a keeper, and I think he seems like a pretty lucky guy too!

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

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  43. That makes you guys awesome in a whole new way!! Dang...now I'm tearing up!

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  44. There is NO judging for Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is made of pure awesomeness. Their hashbrown casserole is yumminess, and their biscuits are nectar of the gods.

    CB-awesomeness aside, John is pretty darned awesome too. I got a little something in my eye at the story too..

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  45. Wow, what a wonderful guy. You lucked out with John.

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  46. Mmmm, Cracker Barrel. I love them for the veggie lunch with biscuits. Yes, I get 4 vegetable side dishes for lunch--collards, okra, green beans, and apples. Reminds me of my youth.

    Your husband is a sweetheart.

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  47. of course you had to write something about your lovely husband that makes me think about how much i love MY husband even though i was mad at him this morning. see, now i can't be mad at him! thanks to jen for fixing silly marital arguments all over this nation.

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  48. I'm from Tennessee, home of Cracker Barrel (and Jack Daniel's, but that's another story). As a former server, I know that those unexpected big tips really make your night... sometimes even your week! Hugs to John!

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  49. It sounds as if your waiter was in the autism spectrum. (I am Mom to a 16 year-old high-functioning boy with autism). It is always my hope that he will have a rewarding job in the future. Your waiter earned that tip!

    And your husband is a gem!

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  50. Aw... You guys. I want to give all three of you a big hug.

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  51. That is so sweet! - I was waiting for story like one of my own Cracker Barrel stories where the waiter while staring at my chest proceeded to dump a glass of iced tea all over me. - That's not all, a while later at a different restaraunt I saw the same guy and thought "oh crap I hope he's not my server."

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  52. Awww!!

    And.. Fried. Apples. 'nuff said.

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  53. SO YOU THINK EMO PEOPLE DONO'T DESERVE A GOOD ENOUGH JOB HUH!!!??!?? what you got against emos

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  54. Oh, I don't judge you. I join you! Breakfast, brinner --- you are going to Cracker Barrel, I'm there!
    Very sweet story. Thanks for sharing.

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  55. Thank you for the reminder that we never know what someone else's story is. It is so easy to make a quick judgement. And John is obviously just awesome. Both of you are. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  56. I love this story. I read your blog every day. And so does my sister. We love steampunk, DIY, and I married a Star Wars, Star Trek, sci-fi GEEK of the highest caliber:) I'm also an AVID reader of sci-fi and fantasy. I also happen to have two special-needs children. And it is LOVELY to know that if they ever go to work in the outside world, some people will care and treat them with respect. Thank you for this sweet story.

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  57. What a sweet story! I needed a feel good story today. Really changed the tone of my morning. And good for John!

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  58. Awww, now I love John too. Can we clone him?

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  59. Where's the like button?!?!!? lol, what a great hubby!!

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  60. awwww.... :)

    I usually over-tip. I like to think that even a little bit extra can make someone's night. Plus, they are doing a job I know I would hate!

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  61. What an awesome story, It made my hohum day a lot brighter!

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  62. Great story, Jen! That's so great of John....made my morning.

    And, speaking of mornings, I agree that Cracker Barrel rocks for breakfast - for me it's the bacon and their hashbrown casserole...I could have 2 orders of that and the bacon and be set for the day!

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  63. Now I want to meet Bill. Right after I meet you and John and give you both a tight bear hug*.
    You guys rock!

    *totally not in a stalkery way...and if you google me and see that I have a million and one restraining orders out against me, I can explain. It was my evil twin.
    :)

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  64. I'm the mom of 2 children with special needs, and you just made my day!! Your story made me think of my favorite quote..."Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." I hope that your kind-hearted attitude spreads...you and John both deserve a big hug!

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  65. *sniffle*

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that gets teary hearing stories like this. WTG John n' Jenn!

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  66. A great story about turning on your own awareness before sticking to your original judgement. Good for you! I have a nephew who has Asperger's syndrome and he is often ridiculed and misunderstood. Once you get past the awkwardness that is Chris, you find a huge heart and one hell of a funny sense of humor.
    Thanks for this reminder to allow people time to reveal their nature before you judge them. :)

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  67. Aw now I'm misting up!

    Also Crackerbarrel is super tasty goodness!

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  68. That is one of the sweetest, most unselfish things I've heard in awhile, especially since John chose to tip anonymously. Good service should always be rewarded but I think, if you have a waiter who has to overcome some sort of physical or mental obstacle (which is what I think we've all inferred from your overheard conversation)and can still give good service, that should definitely be rewarded as well. I bet John and the other diner made that man's week with their generosity, because he now knows how much his hard work is appreciated.

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  69. Wow, that made me tear up. I love moments like these. Have you ever seen the movie Christmas Shoes? Where the guy gives the kid money to buy his mom some shoes? Gets me everytime.

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  70. That's a wonderful story. As a family that survives on tips that are about 2/3 of what they were 3 years ago I want to tell you how much we appreciate people who take into account the person providing the service when tipping. Now I think I love John as much as I already loved Cracker Barrel breakfast.

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  71. OK, no fair. As someone who cries at everything (Glee episode? check. Song on the radio? check. Hallmark ad? check.),I got teary reading John's response. Don't make me cry at work, dude. That's not cool.

    But actually, it was cool. Very, very cool. Even if it did make me cry.

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  72. That is so adorable. What a sweetie, you guys are terrific. And I second yumminess of Cracker Barrel breakfast, their bacon is so good. And the hashbrown casserole rules!!
    Funny Cracker Barrel story. We were there a couple of Sundays ago for breakfast. My brother ordered the eggs in a basket (bread with a hole cut in the middle and you crack an egg into the hole and cook them together). When it came out it was just two fried eggs with two pieces of toast with holes cut in them for no apparent reason. It was like eggs under a weird basket. Too funny.

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  73. I really like this kind of post, Jen. I mean, someone who writes about Oscar, cake, disney, and crafty stuff can't be all bad, and after I got to meet you at a book signing, I knew how likeable both of you were, but this kind of thing makes reading every word you write (with bated breath) worth it. :)

    I love seeing people love their spouses. There's just not enough of that. Keep it up!

    Blessings~

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  74. Awwww!!!!!! Your so lucky to have a hubby like that!

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  75. That is a wonderful story. It reminds me of the time I was about five years old (in the late 70's) Our family saved all summer and took a trip to Disneyland, there were sixteen of us that went. We had breakfast at the local IHOP. The waitress was friendly and happy and never flustered at the immense crowd that descended upon her breakfast rush like a midwestern thunderstorm. At the end of it all, my dad left her a $100 tip. In those days $100 was the equivalent of a mortgage payment. I've always tried to emulate Dad's generaosity since, and I'm glad to see other saps - er - good people doing the same. :) Thank goodness for people like you and John.

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  76. "Like" times 1000000000! Thank you for reminding us that it's not always about us and what we want from others. It's about what others need from us.

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  77. You definitely lucked out with such a sweet, generous guy. Thanks for such a great post. It really made me smile on a hectic work day.

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  78. ok telling stories like this to pregnant women is not fair! you two are so cute and so sweet. Go "Bill"

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  79. Wonderful! He's a keeper.

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  80. Absolutely AWESOME, Jen & John! As a former waitress, I definitely can relate to the "little kid excited" reaction to such an awesome tip. And for you to top it is spectacular! Congrats to "Bill" on an awesome night at Cracker Barrel.

    Biscuits... not easy to find good ones so far up north (RI), but I do have two Cracker Barrels within a half-hour drive or so that I need to go to soon. Have you TRIED the cajun grilled catfish with the southern style green beans and fried apples? Top that off with biscuits as an app and sweet tea... oh boy, I'm salivating now.

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  81. ANNNND I just teared up reading that...so sweet you guys are :D

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  82. john, you are so incredibly sweet. those man-tears had me in tears! :)

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  83. Must be a lot of dust flying around in the office today; my eyes seem to be watering. This is a great story on so many levels, thanks for sharing!

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  84. Fantastic post, and a good reminder that a little goes a long way to making someone's day.

    Maybe next time I can afford to go out (money is tight right now) I'll leave a little extra in the tip for the server. Make their day, and I know it will make me feel good too.

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  85. Awww... I have something in my eye now.

    And I LOVE Cracker Barrel Brinner!

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  86. Freaking awesome. I think it's so important to take care of those who take care of us. Tips are very important for servers and we need to respect that.

    "It's not tipping I believe in, it's over-tipping." ~ Steve Martin as Vinnie in My Blue Heaven

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  87. okay, now I am teared up....
    we'll blame it on sleep deprivation.
    yeah, that's the ticket.

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  88. Sniff! *sob* Man, and I live at Cracker Barrel. Or actually, I live for their biscuits and apple butter. Dear gracious. Someone help me! :D That story was super sweet, and I'm sure J has a great time with a wife who is so supportive of him! :D You both rock!

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  89. I'm sure you guys totally made his day - I'm guessing Bill has Aspergers.

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  90. Awww, that's so sweet. You have one of the truly good guys with John.

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  91. I have Asperger's, and I can tell you from experience that it can make retail/service jobs incredibly difficult. You have to work hard, all the time, to appear normal so customers don't think you're rude, and it often feels like all your customers hate you no matter how hard you try (although that may be true of any kind of customer service!). Thank you and John for your understanding.

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  92. How wonderful. Your John really is a special man!! As are you! :-)

    And I have to say, as the mom of a boy on the autism spectrum, you also brought tears to my eyes!! I hope when my small boy grows to be a man he manages to have interactions with people who are just as supportive and understanding.

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  93. You all are folks I would be glad to associate with. Some of the best moments happen in the oddest of places.

    Mmmm...Brinner.

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  94. What a feel good story. Kudos all around.

    To Bill, for doing his best.

    To Cracker Barrel, for hiring him and giving him that chance to shine. (Also for the pot roast dinners just the way Mom makes 'em)

    To all the Cracker Barrel patrons, for having the presence of mind to demonstrate compassion, understanding, and acceptance.

    To you, Jen and John, for setting an example and raising the bar for the rest of us. May we all rise to the challenge.

    Cheers!

    ~~Swan

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  95. That is so terrific. That guy had a great night, and anyone who reacts that way to $20 really needs a great night. Way to bring some awesomeness to the world!

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  96. {{hugs you both}}

    My kids LOVE Cracker Barrel's stores, too. The $1.50 sticker & activity books are fabulous for car trips!

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  97. Total awesomeness! And may I say, Cracker Barrel is the bomb!! I love it, I miss it - there aren't any in California. *sinf, snif*

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  98. What a lucky husband -- to have a wife who loves him and appreciates his big heart. :D You two are so darn cute. You make me smile.

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  99. Tell John he's gained one more fan in me. That's an awesome thing to do.

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  100. I have to say... this made me tear up more than just a little bit. *sniffle*

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  101. As someone who works in the service industry, please know that the generosity will not go unnoticed. Sometimes the random act of kindness from a stranger is enough to turn a whole week around. You have a good guy on your hands.

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  102. I loved that feel of "well done" when I was a server and now that I can I like being the person who makes someone's day like that when my husband and I got out to eat. You guys did well!!

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  103. tiny purple elephantOctober 27, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    lovely story jen and jon....

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  104. Thank you for sharing that story *sniff*... John is awesome - can he train a few more guys to be like that? and +10 for doing it anonymously.

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  105. That is sooo sweet. It definitely made me tear up! Partly because it was so sweet and partly because it reminded me of my father who passed away recently.

    One time he took me out to lunch at a Sonic's and the girl mentioned that she had gotten engaged the night before. Well my father believed in good beginings and gave her a hundred dollar bill. The look on her face was priceless and taught me a beautiful lesson in generosity.

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  106. Please give John a big hug from us for being such a wonderful guy!

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  107. Way to go, you two! Sweetest story ever!

    And breakfast-for-dinner is awesome...especially at Cracker Barrel!

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  108. That's so awesome. {tear}

    I think I love you guys more than ever. Not a stalker kinda love, but a "I love you guys" kind.

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  109. Thank you for sharing that - I got all warm and fuzzy - and some strange precipitation fell from my face. We are big fans of tipping in my family and believe karma will come back at you :)

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  110. Oh my goodness, I think I have something in my eye now too.

    You guys are awesome. In case you didn't already know.

    I also love brinner, but sadly, my husband does not agree. I also love Cracker Barrel. Again, my husband doesn't agree, but my kids love it, so I can usually twist his arm into at least stopping when we're on car trips. Mmm, brinner, now I want some too!

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  111. I teared up like the sappy fool that I am when I read this. Good on you, John!

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  112. Your story made me tear up twice, so yes I am a super sap too. Thank you for sharing that story. You are lucky to have John, and of course he is lucky to have you also. You made me remember that I have my own John and I totally forgot the silly argument we had this morning(well amost!).

    We love brinner too, we just had it yesterday and now, I want to go to Cracker Barrel again soon. Thanks Jen!

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  113. You've got a sweetie there, Jen!

    A few notes:

    1- I worked at a Cracker Barrel for 5 years, and the bacon is the only thing I miss.

    2- Ok, I lied. Try the brown rice some Friday. YUM!

    3- There are a lot of things I could tell you about why I don't like CB, but one of the redeeming things about the company is that they hire people like Bill and give them a chance to thrive.

    :)

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  114. You made me cry too! Way to go with the extra tip. I wish I could have seen Bill's reaction to that.

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  115. As a mom of a high-functioning autistic son, people like you give me hope that there will be an accepting place in the world for him. Keep spreading acceptance! THANK YOU!!!

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  116. We love Cracker Barrel, too. I love the 2 pecan pancake plate...'cause three is one tooo many. We started going on Fridays as a way to connect with our grown and flown the nest son. Ben loves their catfish on Fridays. We got to know a very effiencient waitress, Lisa. We would request her, as she remembered our order from week to week. It was fun spoiling her with a big tip. (through her pregnancy and new baby girl) She is smart and efficient---could be manager someday. But, took a morning shift to spend more time with her daughter. Now we go eat an early breakfast once a month---just to see her, and catch up.

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  117. Yeah, that could be my son in about 10 years.
    "You did good," will last a lot longer for him than the money, but your financial reinforcement helps!
    Thanks for helping to bring a little more understanding to the world.

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  118. Thanks Jen for reminding me that we should look outside ourselves more often. The world needs more people like you and John!!

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  119. Oh, for pete's sake "Rachel", take it down a notch!!! Jen and John, you make my day every day. Thanks!

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  120. That is such a great story. :) I always try to tip well, especially if I'm out with other people who are less than pleasant to the waiter/waitress---I know I wouldn't want to be in their shoes, and sometimes I don't see how they can stop themselves from dumping someone's dinner over their rude head. :ox

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  121. This story was beautiful. I was tearing up reading it.

    Also, I felt like you may enjoy this blog post.
    Creepy? Yes. Disturbing? Maybe. Steampunk originality? Definitely.

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  122. Pass the napkin this way...

    "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." - Jebediah Springfield

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  123. People like you guys definitely make the world a nicer place to live.

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  124. You guys make me so happy.

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  125. Dude, you totally made me tear up at work and ruin my "I'm so not on the internet" face. Worth it though. I love your blog.

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  126. Oh, gosh, you guys.
    You had to go and make my cry.
    I have to work at a gym studio three times a week after school to save up money for college.I get paid $8.00 an hour to vacuum, scrub down sweaty equipment, scrub bathrooms and babysit toddlers. I'm usually so beat after work that I just want to fall asleep, but of course I have homework to finish, essays to write and tests to study for. Some nights a family comes in and leaves me with two hyper toddlers for an hour and a half, and leaves a tip of $2-$3. It's so frustrating sometimes I feel like giving up. I could get an extra two hours of sleep each night if I quit. Thanks for putting a smile on my face and giving me hope for the human capacity for love and kindness. You'll never know how much I needed that.

    God bless you both.

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  127. Must. Stop. Reading. Comments...

    Bawling like a little baby I am... Something to do with hormones I suppose.

    It's so refreshing to know there are still decent people in the world, capable of taking care of strangers!

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  128. A lovely story! Hooray for Bill!

    But I can't help but still dislike Cracker Barrel due to the racism lawsuits from years ago. Yeah, I know, and I still dislike Denny's for that, too!

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  129. This reminds me of Pride & Prejudice, when Elizabeth is talking to Wickham, after having learned the real story behind their animosity, and Wickham asks her if she found Mr. Darcy much improved, and Elizabeth tells Wickham that Mr. Darcy is the same as he ever was, but that knowing him better she understood him better. I <3 P&P!

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  130. All you need is a catchy chorus, and this story could easily become a country song. You've got the three verses, the heart-warming story, the ending that makes you bawl like a baby. I love it. Nicely done.

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  131. As I like to say, "One person's "Little Thing" is another one's "Everything". :-)
    I lived through some pretty hard times (well, okay, horrible times. My husband actually doesn't like to hear me talk about them because it makes him want to claw his way back in time to take care of me retroactively). But anyway- let me just say that I can still remember a time where an extra $20 made all the difference in my meager life. It was the generosity of folks like John that made life worth living. Thanks for making the world a brighter place, you guys!

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  132. awww, you guys are awesome.... I keep trying to edit down the hundreds of things I want to say, and it's not working well. So, I'll have to just say THANK YOU.

    Thank You for listening, caring, sharing your story, and spreading the love.

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  133. What a fantastic story!^_^

    Though we do not do Cracker Barrel anymore because Hubb feel pray to a random bout of sickness related to it over about a year ago....we too once loved their breakfasts.

    We too once got to be gifters to a server.
    Headed home one evening from a trip to see our family we stopped in at a restaurant to feed the "starrvin" kiddos. Similar to your story, there was an elderly couple seated behind us. Our waitress seemed to know them fairly well as they chatted about life and things. She mentioned that the past few months had been rather hard and she was worried about being able to purchase her daughter a present for her birthday as the bills were piling up.
    We had just received a gift of $100 from Hubbs grandmother that was out of the blue. Things were tight at our house but hearing her worries brought home that no matter how tight our situation was, there were others out there in worse situations than we were. So as we left (quickly and quietly as we could with the kiddos)we slipped the $100 in with our payment for our meal.

    Your story reminded me of ours and now I'll have the warm fuzzies all day.
    Your John is a keeper!!

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  134. Awesome. Just plain, pure awesome. Thanks for making me smile!

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  135. Thanks for this post. I thought it was so sweet when I read it last night that I had to come back to it again today. And I too had a lot of dust or something in my eye, because I needed more than a few tears to get it out. :)

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  136. Such a great story! I had teary eyes just reading it!! And I must ask, do you watch Olivia on Nick Jr??? She always says "Rule of Life #125" ( or whatever random number ) and that's EXACTLY what I thought of when I read your title. :)

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  137. That is the sweetest thing I've heard all day. Sometimes it's too easy to overlook how something simple can make a huge difference. You're both such wonderful people ...I'm so glad to know there are people like you and John in the world. =')

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  138. any chance bill was a waiter with a disability like autism? that might explain some of what went on.

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  139. great story!!

    we had a cracker barrel night once when we were in college. my dh took me out for brinner and our waitress was commenting about our cute baby she nearly flipped when we explained that the baby was #6 and the other kids were with friends (we now have 7). she told us that she was expecting her first and was a bit nervous. we smiled and told her she would do a great job. when we got to the cashier she did a double take with the credit card slip and asked if i realized that our tip was more than our meal. i smiled and said that it wasn't a mistake and we walked out. i hope it was a blessing to her because it was for us.

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  140. This made me smile. :) Thanks for sharing.
    And tell John he's awesome (I'm sure you tell him that regularly but you can never say that enough).

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  141. 1) I LOVE Cracker Barrel.
    2) I am in an unhappy marriage and you and John give me hope that one day, when I get the nerve to leave, I to can find my "john".

    Thank you.

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  142. i got home from my own waitressing gig not too long ago, and all i can say is 'thanks!'

    the world needs more people like you two.

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  143. This made me smile - the way you described Bill definitely makes me think he is on the autism spectrum, and as the sister of someone with autism, I applaud the kindness you and John showed. The world needs more people like you and John.

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  144. I know you posted this months ago, but I just read it, and wanted to say "pass me a napkin, I have something in my eye too" lol
    Thanks for sharing this story, you two are wonderful people and it helps remind me to not judge so quickly. (((HUGS))) to you both!

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  145. This post made me happy. I have a sister with Asperger's and one with Turner Syndrome. I know how people often misjudge them because they look the same as everyone else but people kinda stare and think, "What's wrong with her? Maybe she's just stuck up or rude." I hope my sisters can develop more independence and get to the point where they can have a job and meet kind people as well.

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  146. Does John have a single brother or cousin? ;-)

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  147. I know this is an old one...I just randomly clicked on it. But, as the mother of 2 small kids on the autism spectrum...thanks. That type of kindness and understanding is what I hope they will encounter in their lives. ((((hugs))))

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  148. Beautiful. Thank you for the good people that you are.

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  149. Wow.I have to say that I'm a huge fan of Cakewrecks and just stumbled across this blog.I have two boys with autism and have been crying since I started reading this story.It's so heartwarming to know that people like you and John are out there.Thank you so much for showing kindness and compassion when others would have complained.It gives me hope that one day all of those awkward stares will turn into friendly smiles.Thanks and great job Bill:)

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  150. My own sweet son has Autism, and is regularly like Bill. I couldn't love him more if he was 'normal.' Sweet couple you two are to recognize and go the extra mile for someone who probably gets overlooked a lot.
    Jen
    PS My son just walked up and saw the pictures of your two books at the bottom of the page. "Mom, are those pictures of cakes?" Me: Yes they are! "Oh, we just love cake, don't we, mom? (hugs me) you're the best mom."

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  151. Aww, that's SO lovely :)

    And I totally get the whole Cracker Barrel thing. I'm from Scotland, and I was so excited to go to Cracker Barrel on my first visit to Florida. Even more excited than I was about the theme parks... Except The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. ;)

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  152. I have "favorited" many of your blogs in the past without even realizing they were from the same person. The smashing penny jewelry, the penny buttons, and now the penny desk (come to think of it, you'd think I wouldn't have had a clue.) But this story is great. Made me tear up. You have a great guy and you're great too! Keep it up. :) <3

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  153. Oh damn! Now I have something in my eye! Lovely!

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  154. I just dropped in via another blog . . . where's that napkin? I think I have something in my eyes!

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  155. You two totally deserve each other :D

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  156. What a perfectly lovely story Jen. John sounds amazing, alot like my hubby Dave (we are Double D's by the way...David & Danielle like you are Jen & John...awww hee hee hee). It's so amazing to find that there are still genuinely kind natured folks out there in this world (I'm speaking of both John & "Bill"). I find myself shaking my head in amazement almost every single day at the complete ugliness in this world (I had a man...yep, a grown man...threaten me with bodily harm because I was driving the speed limit & not 20 miles over the speed limit.....it boggles the mind), but I still try to smile, hold the door open for people, & help my elders when I see them struggling to get groceries into their cars etc, because I hold out hope that people are still, at heart, mostly good. Your story made me cry, but it also made me so happy that I'm not wrong....there are still a lot of truly GOOD people left in this mean old world. Thank you so much for sharing this story.....it made my year.....seriously.

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  157. At a store earlier today a customer ahead of me in line suddenly got mad at the cashier for not talking to him. She was hearing impaired and was using hand gestures and simple signs to communicate. She tried explaining that she couldn't hear, but he wasn't looking at her. It all happened very fast, but I could hear him grumbling until he reached the door. He was gone by the time I made it outside. Instead of hating humanity, I thought of the end of Mockingjay where Katniss counts up the kind acts she's seen. I counted this story. Of not only John, but the other customers at the restaurant. Thanks for sharing it.

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