Today, I’d been fired for this, but not in the old days…..You ready for a Christmas story?
I worked at Goody’s straight through grad school but I took temporary jobs when I could other places. I was a graduate assistant during the day; worked Goody’s the nights I did not have classes (Library); and did data entry work for Dr. Mims whenever she wanted me too. So, between those mad schedules, at Christmas, I ran a checkout line at a little restaurant on call. I only worked Christmas, but I was there for the entire holiday, save Christmas Day.
I was ringing people up, all decked out in the tacky Christmas sweater with a nativity scene on it (yes, I had one) and hat when a man came up and started insulting my sweater. I just looked at him with a cocked eyebrow, gave him his change, and said sweetly, “Merry Christmas!” as I was taught to say in sales in 1994. The guy glared at me and said, “I’m an atheist, I don’t celebrate your stupid holiday.” And before I could bite my lip, the sass in me said, “That is so unfortunate! Well, have an awesome week!” Mike, the owner heard it, smacked his head, dragged me away and said, “Anne, hon, you can’t say that….But good for you! He said that to me the other day. But he’s been a regular for years. Be nice.” I apologized and went back to work.
One year later, I was back at my register, ringing up the exiting diners when the SAME man came up to me. Believe me, I remembered him.
“Have a good….week,” I smiled, handing him his change. “No! Merry Christmas!” he said back. “Huh?” I asked. He blushed and said,”Well, I sort of, ah, well, ah, got saved last Easter!”
“NO SHIT!?” once again my mouth went before my brain, “That is awesome!”
“NO SHIT! MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and he laughed and left. Mike, the owner heard it, smacked his head, dragged me away, and said, “Anne, baby, you can’t say that when someone gets saved and especially at Christmas.”
I worked there one more Christmas season after that and the guy, a regular, grew in his faith, and we were “HEY! HOW ARE YOU” friends around Carrollton. I haven’t seen him since I left Carrollton. I hope he has a Merry Christmas…and I think of him yearly!!!! The diner is gone, Mike is deceased, but you can’t help remembering people this time of year that you befriended.