good people

May 19th, 2008 by chivrypdx Leave a reply »

I first met Donnie B. while I was waiting tables at Multnomah falls the summers I was home from college.  He was 16 yrs old working on the grounds crew of that high volume tourist destination.  He came inside to the lodge to help out bussing tables on Father’s day.  When he resumed doing grounds work I met with the manager and asked him to move Donnie to the restaurant because he was such a good worker and he would make more money inside.

Donnie B. later came to work with me bussing, then waiting tables at the Black Rabbit at Edgfield with me.  A few years later I asked Donnie to come up to Alaska and tend bar at a restaurant I was managing.  We drove my volkswagon bus back home to Portland together when the partnership crashed and the restaurant was sold.

He has a family now and is doing well managing a restaurant for some local folks.  Donnie’s house recently burned down, and, although I hadn’t seen the kid in years, I felt that something ought to be done.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have kept my connections to the people I worked with at Edgefield back in the mid ’90s.  So I gave a bunch folks notice and we threw Donnie a party and raised some money, gift cards and much needed furniture.  Plus, Donnie was thrilled to see everyone and was touched that so many people cared.

What astonished me about the event was how sincere everyone was when they brought donations and asked if there was more they could do.  It’s not every restaurant I work at that I meet really good people, but at most of them I do.

Something about this sparks my curiosity.  Do computer programmers create relationships with their coworkers? Do nurses?  Do we all create relationships with the people in our career world?  I grew up treasure hunting beneath restaurant booths, and playing fort upstairs in the storeroom with all the banquet chairs and tables.  I easily forget that most people have not been raised in restaurants. Community has always been integrated with my what I do for a living.  Is this unique?  

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