Unexpected Compliment

Say Something Nice

Photo from Lou Levit via Unsplash.

Photo from Lou Levit via Unsplash.

I got the most unexpected and lovely compliment last week.

Every Wednesday morning, The Assistant’s school has a late start to accommodate weekly teacher meetings. This is great for us. We sleep in a bit, take our time getting ready, and then go out for breakfast.

We have a local brunch place that’s our go-to for pancakes on Wednesday mornings. They know us well. The hostess always reserves The Assistant’s favorite table for him, and our standard drinks — iced tea for me, hot chocolate for him — appear without us having to order. On most mornings, we play chess on the iPad, with The Assistant teaching me the lessons he learned in Monday’s Chess Club. (And then, of course, he crushes me.)

I know most of the servers by name, and a little bit about their personal lives: which ones have kids, spouses, girlfriends, etc. Last week, our waitress was the young mother of two preschool kids. I always ask about them, and we chat for a bit.

Later, she came back to the table. “I wanted to tell you that we talk about you a lot.” I was caught a little off guard. Me? Why?

She explained that most parents come in, hand their kid a device, and shove them off in a corner of the booth. We’re different. We play together. We talk. He acknowledges and thanks the servers when his food comes. “I watch how you interact with him,” she said. “It’s really influencing how I approach things with my kids. I want to make sure that they know that I don’t just want to keep them busy. I want to talk with them. I want them to be part of the conversation. And it’s something I didn’t think of until I saw you. One of my coworkers’ kids are in college now, and he says he wishes he could go back and do it like you’re doing it.”

I was so surprised and a little overwhelmed by it. It’s not something I do consciously, but ever since then I’ve actually looked around and realized that yeah, it is uncommon.

I guess you never know who’s watching, and how your behavior might influence them. But I’m glad that ours had a positive effect.

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