Last night, after more than a year, I met an old friend; Alice. I hadn’t seen Alice since that fateful night last year when she changed the course of my life and it was a thrilling reunion.
I stopped into Lanesplitter to grab a quick bite before jumping into a book club meeting I had across the street. I saw Alice a few minutes after I sat down but she was busy. Too busy to talk, or even notice me. I wondered if I’d even have a chance, now that I had returned 17 months later, to even tell her what she had done to me; how she had impacted the rest of my life. My hopes were further dashed when Alice, in her flurry of activity, delivered my slice of pizza from behind my back (I was sitting at the bar, again)and kept on speed walking to where she needed to go. “Thank you!” I meagerly cried, but she was gone already.
Finally, Alice set up a glass in front of me to pour a glass of wine for a customer. “Was this the right timing?” I wondered. I wasn’t sure if she’d have the time for a quick talk but decided to go for it.
“Excuse me, are you Alice?” I asked. She froze. Then looked at me quizzically. I imagined it must have been a similar reaction to what I had given her last year when she called out my name. “Yeeeessss,” she said tentatively. “I’m so sorry.” I explained, having noticed that I’d thrown her off. “Last year I sat down there at the end of the bar and I had forgotten I was wearing a name tag and you called out my name. I just want you to know that you changed my life. I wound up wearing a name tag for three weeks after that it and it totally changed everything for me!” I told her.
From there, her face transformed from a look of confusion to, well, it lit up! Her expression became jubilant and excited. “Yes. Yes! I remember!” she confessed. “Oh that’s so great! Thank you for sharing.” “I wrote a blog about the whole experience. Do you have a pen? Would you mind if I share it with you?” I pondered. “I can’t wait to check this out later tonight,” Alice told me as she took the paper and pen back. As she took off to deliver the glass of wine she had just poured, I could tell Alice was excited for what I had just shared. I was REALLY excited to have come full circle and share the story, however briefly, with Alice.
Of course the contagion of the name tag continued as a guy next to me, Rob, asked me about the story and we chatted briefly as I finished my food before paying the bill. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to Alice before I left last night. I would have liked to, though. I owe a debt of gratitude to her for being the spark that lit a fire. And ask my wife, sometimes it grew to be a BIG fire. She changed my life, that Alice, just by being who she is naturally.
If you happen to be in the area, stop in to Lanesplitter and grab a slice. Ask for Alice and tell her I said “hi.” Just make sure you tell her your name and give her a generous tip, on behalf of me. After all, Alice helped change the world; mine at least.