Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paying it Forward in Burlington, NC - Cross-Country Road Trip 6.0

We got hungry on our drive to Tega Cay, SC and decided to check out a place called Cracker Barrel. We had no idea where we were or what to expect but for some reason it was calling us. We walked in and I was very surprised at how different it felt from all of the places we’d been so far. Not anything physically different, just a feeling. Almost like there was an actual line we crossed going from North to South.

We were greeted by the hostess who was as friendly as friendly could be. Then a nice man named Wayne came to seat us. I don’t know why but for some reason I just felt an instant connection with him. Maybe it was his genuine smile or his humble demeanor, but he was just one of those people you can instantly tell is a deep down good person.

We ate our food (delicious!), played a peg game they had on each table and even treated ourselves to dessert. All the while I kept my eye on Wayne, just watching him do his job. I never once saw him standing idle or joking with his co-workers, he just seemed intent on doing the best job he could. I decided then that I had received so much good karma on this trip; it was time to give a little back.

It just so happened that the manager was working the register when we paid our bill. He was a friendly guy (are we getting lucky, or is everyone nicer on the East Coast?) who seemed interested about our trip. I told him what a great lunch we had and that I thought Wayne was doing an exceptional job. He agreed and said that he often wishes there were more of him.

Normally that would be where I leave it. I did my part by talking to the manager…but no, something didn’t feel complete about it. I wanted Wayne to know. As we’re turning to leave I turn right back around and ask the manager if he would take a picture of us with Wayne. He obliges and the instant I saw Wayne’s reaction, I knew that we had done our job. His face beamed with pride and his huge smile was contagious.

We continued our drive to South Carolina feeling 100 times happier than when we started. For the rest of our drive across North Carolina I think about karma – how easy it is and how good it feels to keep the good kind circulating.

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