This is a post about a wonderful experience at a fantastic establishment with a wonderful server/ waitress/ friend/ fiend or whatever you call the most amazing service people you have ever had. It is not about a specific place – so this is a rare occasion that I am not going to credit a place for great service – this is about all of the amazing and wonderful servers that exist in the world – so fantastic that calling them a server seems a disservice to their craft.
Moving downtown was tough on me (3 years ago this month). I loved the excitement, lights and certainly the company of moving in with Dana. The difficult part for me was the anonymity of living in a new place. I had been in and out of Markham since being a small child. The hamburger shop knew me by face and name. I could bump into friends in a variety of different places. The local bars knew who I was and the restaurants greeted me with a familiar grin.
Sharing a genuine experience with people is critical to my enjoyment of life – regardless if those people are friends, family or staff at a local restaurant. I want to genuinely interact with those around me and, to be honest with myself, I want to be remembered. A much longer piece of writing would explain my fear of being forgotten and simply wouldn’t fit within the focus here. Let’s just say that I was lost a few times in ways that I didn’t like and take great comfort in remembering others and being remembered by them.
Before I moved downtown, Dana and I would go to a local watering hole in the east end of the city (she lived down here). There was very little water but it was most definitely a hole (one of the most legendary in this city). It was a wonderful place which was filled with many, many different types of beer and friendly libations. It was a great place – the people were eclectic and many evenings were lost int he shadows of this small little hovel. It was a most wonderful escape – and the first place downtown that I could truly call my local.
Our favorite member of the bar was Heather. Heather always had a warm smile, was passionate about people and her studies (at OCAD at the time). She showed a genuine interest in our stories – would playfully interact with us, share some neat stories and never neglect us – or others – in the process. She would always remember my favorite (which was “surprise me with anything but Coor’s Light.”) She was simply fantastic.
The years have gone by and we live in a different corner of the city. We have bumped into Heather a few times – last we had hear she was opening a bar of her own in Hamilton.
We went for a wonderful stroll on Saturday and ended up back in the old ‘hood. We walked in to have a few bevies and were shocked to hear a giant warm greeting from behind the counter. She still works the occasional shift and seemed happy to see us as well. This warm greeting was repeated several times over as several others walked in with the similar histories. You could hear their excitement in seeing her and the same in return.
Being remembered is such a wonderful thing. I don’t know if many people who “serve” for a living know what an amazing part of someones lives that they can become. A memory is a most powerful thing and being remembered is such an amazing comfort. Thank you to Heather – and to all of the fantastic people who willingly put themselves on the line to engage with customers to make them feel like what they ultimately are – people. Thank you to those who are the best – you affect others in more ways than you can ever know.