Southern Hospitality

Hello, and welcome to Random Writings! My name is Random Writer and I’m here to tell you, the wonderfully, amazing reader, a story. I recently got back from Atlanta, Georgia (more on that later) and something happened to me that I just absolutely had to share.

Now before I jump “head-long” into this. Let me first address that the final chapter of “Brad, a Short Story” will be coming out next week. I have not forgotten about it. Again, the final chapter of “Brad, a Short Story” will be coming out next week. I just thought that I would split things up a bit. Also to hold the suspense of the final chapter looming for a little longer. With that being said, let’s get to this incredible story.

I went down to beautiful Atlanta, Georgia for six days. I had been planning to go down there for the Student Television Network (S.T.N.) 2016, Southern Exposure, with twelve other classmates of mine. S.T.N. is a convention where students from all across the country come to on central location because of one thing, their passion for film and / or broadcasting. All of these highly passionate students competed in contests attended workshops and participated in interactive seminars.

I’ll put a link to the S.T.N. website and a few others at the end of this blog post. If you do want to know more about them please check them out. However, it is the people of Atlanta, that this blog post is truly about.

I had never been past the state of Pennsylvania before. It is the farthest I have ever traveled in my lifetime. When I got to go down to one of the crown jewels of the peach state, I was scared. I was frightened of the culture shock that was about to smack me upside the face.

It was not until Friday, the third day of my trip that I, encountered one of the most breathing, shocking moments of my life.

I was in a rush to get to lunch. There was a period of time in between sessions for everyone to eat lunch. This was about an hour period. For the first 35 minutes, I was talking to the professionals that had just finished their presentation. I had some questions about I just bared witness too.

After this, I thanked the wealth of knowledge that was these professionals and went on my way.

When I got to the food court with about 25 minutes left in the period known as lunch. I located my friends to say hello. It wasn’t too long until I found them sitting at a table in the main seating area. I put my things down and said,

“Mike, can you please watch my stuff? I going to go get some food. I’ll be right back”.

Mike along with the rest of the group said, “Sure, no problem”.

After this, I was on my way to grab some grub. I scouted out the widely-dense food court. Restaurants and other food establishments as far as the eye could see. One by one, I glanced at each place that served food from the top of these tall stone steps. There were only three to five of them. However, one could tell that they were meticulously hand-crafted out of beautiful stone. The bright lights of the court of food accentuated the glorious quartz. As the light bunched right off of the magnificent rock.

I started to make a mental checklist of these places that soon grew shorter and shorter. After only a few seconds, I took my short, mental list and headed down the luxurious stairs. The number one restaurant on my shorten was Au Bon Pain. I had gotten a delicious sandwich there the day prior. The turkey and avocado with crisp, bright green romaine lettuce were unlike anything I had back in the Northeast. The food that accommodated it was also exquisite.  So I went down to the end of the food court where it was located. With about 20 minutes left in my lunch period, I decide that the very long line to obtain such a sandwich was not worth it.

The next restaurant on my shorten listed was closed. The third down didn’t have anything that I wanted to eat. Fourth had too long of a line. So I had to settle for my fifth and final option, Dairy Queen.The fast-food joint, with the slogan, “Grill and Chill” was now my only hope for finding something to eat for lunch. I desperately needed something to fuel me for the of the afternoon. It would be hard to focus on what someone was talking about when your stomach is growling.

So, I got in line and looked at the menu board. “Chicken-fingers, french fries, and a medium soda sounds good, ” I thought to myself. So, I get up to the counter, pay for my meal, and start standing in line to wait for my much-needed food. Minutes tick by. The time I have to eat is slowly becoming less and less. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, they called out my number. My left arm shoots up like a rocket. The receipt waving high in the air. the words, “That’s me” come out of my mouth simultaneously.  I made my way through the crowd, sliding through the tiny cracks in between each person.

I got up to the counter to gather my food and more on. Eating it in a way that did not make me sick was the top priority at this point in time. Problem was that it was all extremely cumbersome.There was no cardboard tray, nothing to carry an oddly shaped, brown-paper bag, a medium soda cup that would not survive a six-inch drop, other miscellaneous items that I was carrying. Such as my wallet and other things of that nature.

After picking up all of my items, I cautiously made my way over to the black cabinet that was made out of black lamented wood that housed the napkins and straws. Thankfully, it was only a few steps from where I picked up all my food. In a rush and not thinking clearly, I keep all the foodstuffs in my arms and try to reach for a straw with my remaining fingers not occupying anything. Try as I might, the white, paper wrapped straws were not in my grasp. So, I turn to the man next to me. In his long sleeve, intense white dress shirt with black trim along the shoulders. He looked like a mall security officer. In fact, I think I could see his golden nameplate out of the corner of my eye. He was tending to his own needs at the same cabinet top. His back turned to me. He was just minding his own business.

With this new acquired this information, I potently and in a way desperately asked this gentlemen,

“Excuse me, sir, can you please grab me one of those straws”.

Within a heartbeat, this man said, “sure”. He responded in the most politely, possible way before the snap of the fingers could even be completed. This man had no idea who I was, where I came from, what gender I was, or what I stood for. I could have been a convicted criminal, fresh out of prison, this polite gentleman had no idea who he was helping out.

Instead, he decided to help, faster than what I believe, his instincts told him to. He finished the word came out of his mouth, outstretched his arm and made contacted with the white-parer wrapped straw and started to turn his body towards me. When he was almost completely turned to the source of the sound, it was then, and only then, he realizes how much how he was really helping out a stranger.

The words, “Here you go” slowly came to a stop as the closer this great man came to completing his turn. Almost gobsmacked he was. It was a few seconds after this that the sense of urgent he saw on my face registered. We worked as a team to gently place the straw between the two fingers not occupying anything on my left hand.

As soon as we accomplished our goal, we looked each other’s faces for a second then looked away. I made sure to sincerely thank the kind -hearted gentleman. It said that I was welcome. Then, we both went on with our separate days.

It is mind-boggling to me how quickly this gentleman decided to help. This kind-nurtured soul almost instantaneously decided to help. He did not have prior knowledge of the cumbersome load I was carrying until he turned around to give me the straw. Nothing was influencing this man to help me. Everyone in line to get there top was (to my knowledge) focused on getting their food. They were (again to my knowledge) looking straight ahead. The cabinet that held the napkins and straws was tucked away in a corner to the point where no one or see what was going on expecting this fine gentleman and myself. I do think that the supposed uniform that this man was wearing had little to no effect on the way he acted. The only two people who would see the way he acted were the two of us. He for all intensive purposes was just him. The only recognition this wonderfully gracious man had that he was not alone at the cabinet was a voice asking for a straw. This man was alone.

This man did not need to help me. He didn’t need to help anyone. He could have simply ignored any pleas for help. Instead, this man decided to help. Not only did he decide to help, but he did it instantaneously. I can only assume that it was this man’s honest and true character and his innate ability for helping others that must have empowered him to do this.

His enormous amount of kindness blew me away.  I still to this day, have trouble truly comprehending how amazing kind this gentleman was. I will newer forget him as long as I live. However, it is not about me. It’s about being kind to others no matter what the circumstances are.

I will finish with this: Have you ever, truly and sincerely felt this level of kindness? Ask yourself that. “Have I ever, truly and sincerely felt this level of kindness”? If the answer is no, then go out into this wide world (outside of your house) and without even thinking about it, help someone. Be kind.





Published on March 26, 2016, by Random Writer




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