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To the Waiter at Carrabba's Who Treated My Friends Like Any Other Customer

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To the waiter at Carrabba’s Italian Grill who didn’t see my friends’ disabilities but instead saw my friends:

We had reservations at a different restaurant. We changed our minds. We almost didn’t sit in your section. But we chose a smaller table over a longer wait.

I’m so glad we did.

It was a typical Friday night. You were busy taking orders and delivering food to tables. You didn’t let the presence of two wheelchairs deter you from treating us like any other party of four.

I cannot thank you enough for that.

I could tell you didn’t think anything of it. You didn’t let the fact that my two best friends couldn’t use words to communicate stop you from holding a conversation with them. You read their smiles, laughter, head nods and hand raises like you’d known them for years. You joked with them and treated them like any other customer.

You made a difference in our lives that night.

You see, my friends don’t always get treated like “any other customer.” Sometimes they get ignored and talked over. They don’t always get menus put in front of them. They don’t always get asked if they need anything during a meal.

Your genuine kindness and outstanding service was a breath of fresh air.

abbey posing in the middle of her two friends in wheelchairs smiling

When a stranger at a table across the restaurant paid for our meal as a random act of kindness, you were as appreciative as we were. You went and shook his hand and thanked him over and over again. He wasn’t even your customer. That was just icing on the cake.

When we got ready to leave, you waited patiently while we put on foot pedals and packed up. You must have been standing at the door, waiting to hold it for us for five minutes with a smile on your face.

A tip and a “thank you” seemed inadequate for all of the love and kindness you displayed that Friday night. You saw my friends for who they are — two teenage girls who love life and want to be treated like everyone else. I will never be able to thank you enough.

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Originally published: March 24, 2015
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