I have known her since she was just a little girl. He mother worked for me and she was the same age as my youngest so I have had the privilege of watching her grow up. As a teen, she took on a sort of Smore type persona. Hard on the outside but soft and sweet inside. She was the one who wore black while tattooing her skin and setting up multiple piercings. At 16, she put a ring in her nose just before a busy Thanksgiving shift. When I saw it, I informed her that she was not going to be able to work with it. With tears in her eyes and an incredible resolve, she folded the ring up into her nose so that it could not be seen just so she could work. I knew how painful it must have been and admired her tenacity as she stepped out on the floor to bus tables.
When my kids were teens, I had a birthday that I recall was not my happiest. My family sat around the table. I remember the mood being somewhat argumentative and I was not a happy father let alone a happy birthday camper. The phone rang and when I answered a sweet young voice sang happy birthday to me. It was just the medicine that I needed and I thanked her for making my day.
She told me a couple of years ago that she did not like Christmas because of the commercialism that it has caused. She wanted no one to give her anything at all. But, on a snowy Christmas eve, I saw her car driving down the street looking for my house. I walked out and she handed me a package. I was so touched by her going out on that stormy cold night. She gave me a Oregon Duck mug and the Duck cell phone sleeve that I proudly wear today.
And now, as a single mom, she waits tables for us and works hard to support herself and her two small children. I am just as tough on her as I am on the others servers, pushing her to get her orders out and to greet new customers quickly. While she is not the fastest most efficient server that we have, she is definitely one of the hardest workers and has the skill that I most highly look for in a server, she cares more for the person that she is serving than the money that they put on the table.
And so tonight as I lay in bed, awoken by Max, our rather large and personality filled cat, who was looking for a spot on our bed to call his own, I was startled by my cell phone vibrating that it had a text message. Upon closer inspection, I could see that it was coming from Kara. The text was simple and sweet: "I just wanted to be the first one to wish you a Happy Birthday. I love u. Kara.
I smiled as I sent her a quick response and lay there with a smile on my face......and a resolve to write a small piece about a young lady who has touched me......Thanks Kara!