Smörgåsbord of lessons at lunch | Opinion

I don’t like buffets. Let’s just say I had a bad experience at an all-you-can-eat buffet in my youth, and that memory tends to stick around in a person’s brain.

Also, my mother was a nurse and had a thing about germs — which made me have a thing about germs and there’s something about using the same salad spoon as a bunch of strangers that leaves me a little uneasy.

Don’t be fooled, however, as I did eat dirt as a farm kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. I also swam in our pond which was full of creatures and cow feces and my sister had to pull leeches off my body once after a summer swim — so I’m probably immune at this point.

Still, buffets aren’t my favorite.

My kids and husband love buffets. They always want to go and I’m usually the one who says no. It’s something special they do, without me, and I like that they can have that lovely germ-filled time together.

My son, Keithan, had his 5-year checkup this week and it required a blood test to check on his peanut allergy.

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The needle was large, but he was extra brave which meant, of course, we’d go out for lunch and ice cream.

After his appointment, as I was helping him get buckled into his car seat, he looked at me with his gorgeous blue eyes and dropped the gauntlet.

“Mom, please, can we go to my favorite buffet?” he asked.

I tried to talk him out of it, offering many suitable options, but he’s the baby of the family and already knows how to get his way with his mama, so I gave in.

You should have seen his cute little face. You would have caved too.

“OK, Buddy. Let’s go.”

We ate our lunch and then headed to the ice cream machine for dessert. While we were making our chocolate cones, an older gentleman came up to us, handed Keithan a folded $20 bill and said, “This is for your Piggy Bank.”

Then he started to walk away.

It took me a second to realize what was happening, but I finally blurted out, “Oh, thank you so much!”

The gentleman turned his head just a bit, and without making eye contact said, “Mine are all grown up.”

Then he turned the corner and left.

I’m not sure if he had tears in his eyes, he left before I could dive in with questions, but I sure did.

I told a friend about the kind man, and she said a similar thing that happened recently to her kids, too and that, “it’s an amazing reminder of how precious kids are in the eyes of others — even on the days they are difficult for us .”

Whew. Isn’t that the truth?

To the kind man, thank you for reminding us that humanity is still so good. And thanks, also, for reminding me that buffets aren’t that bad either.


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