Thanks for working today!

A little Intro!

A big ‘hey’ to anyone who finds there way here, thank you for stopping by.  This blog is a simple place with one reason to exist.  To say thank you to those who work, especially on the days no one else does.

Not that I want to spend a lot of time talking about me (because this place is about you!), but here is the short version:  I used to work for a company where the founder once said ‘There is dignity in work,’ and after months of chewing on that, I saw how truly stupid I used to be.  When I was young, I used to look down on some jobs (and maybe by extension, some people) as beneath me…and I know I was not alone.  I didn’t recognize until much later in life all those people who make our world hum along, and their value.  The fast-food clerks, the garbage men, the UPS guy…all of them have important jobs to do.  And we should all be damn glad they get done.

I was the guy who went from ‘most likely to succeed’ in high school to ‘absolute failure’ in my early post high school life.  My 20′s were a waste of years, drinking and girls and nothing important getting done.  Looking back, it seems the world made very clear many things I had often overlooked and taken for granted.  After graduating to my 30′s with a lot of bumps and bruises, and more than a few regrets, I finally got my life mostly back on track, and I started work at the company I mentioned above.

To today, where at 42, somehow my wife and I have blessings beyond measure.  We have family who love us, an amazing bounty of pets, and an incredible relationship I am thankful for every day.  And after many years of thinking we couldn’t have kids, God has chosen to send us twins, due shortly (January 2014).

Currently I run a small business locally in Hendersonville, TN…it’s not big, just my wife and I, but it pays the bills and puts away a little for retirement each month.

Where did Thanks For Working Today come from?

Last year, 2 days before Thanksgiving, one of our dogs passed away.  We were devastated.  My wife and I spent 5 years of time, and more than a bit of treasure, nursing our amazing rescue…he was incredibly frail and tiny (less than 3 lbs), but worked so hard each day to live, and he made us laugh and wonder at his amazing spirit.  ponchoWe spent at least 2 years getting up to feed him every 2 hours because he wouldn’t keep on even the tiniest bit of body fat.  Though long nights with Poncho were worth it.  He was fierce, loyal and funny, and we spent weeks in tears following his death.  We don’t regret a single day or dollar we spent with, or on, him.

Being incredibly depressed on Thanksgiving, I suggested to my wife and in-laws that we eat out, as none of us were in any mood to cook.  We stopped by the Cracker Barrel in Indian Lake, but the line (as always) was out the door and then some, with a 45 minute wait.  So we went driving a little bit more and found ourselves at the Steak and Shake…I wasn’t sure how that would go over with everyone, but I suggested we give it a try.  To everyone’s surprise, we had a nice time, as much as we were able to under the circumstances.  The food was good, our waitress was awesome, and I got to spend a peaceful 90 minutes or so with my wife and family.  Like we sometimes do when the service is excellent, I suggested we leave a good tip, and my wife agreed, so we put a $20 on the table (I think the meal was just a little more than that for the 4 of us), and made our way out.

To my surprise, our waitress, (a dark-haired woman (I guess in her early forties) with a big smile and hello for everyone) caught up to us in the parking lot and asked if we had made a mistake and meant to tip her that much.  We smiled and said, ‘absolutely, you earned it and then some.’  She was so grateful…and her thanks are something I haven’t been able to get out of my head ever since.  Not only was she at work on a holiday, probably making not much more than minimum wage, but she was doing it with a smile and sincerity that humbled me.  And she was so honest to follow us out of the restaurant and make sure the tip was for her.

I don’t have a lot of ’causes’.  We rescue animals (though I’m usually the one trying to make sure we don’t end up with a house full), and I always gave to the Literacy Foundation where I used to work, but that’s about it.  However, the Waitress who served us so well when we were so sad touched something in me.  So my wife and I have decided that we’ll cut down our Christmas budget significantly this year, and instead we’ll use it to pass on a little cheer to those we find during the holidays working when others aren’t (or won’t), and are smiling nonetheless.

So anyone who finds their way here, I want to say Thank You!  I wish I could have given all of you more than $50, because you deserve it.  For about 363 days a year, I am at work too, doing my best to provide for my wife and family.  The only 2 days I don’t work are Thanksgiving and Christmas, so on those days those who make me a cup of coffee, or laugh at one of my dumb jokes, or bring me a hot meal…I really am grateful for you.  Please know that there is at least one person out there who appreciates your sacrifice, and knows that you probably have better things to be doing with your own friends and family.

I pray, sincerely, that all those out there who find themselves working on a holiday, realize there are sad people, lonely people, and maybe even some mad or scared people, out there.  Your smile and your service just might ease a tiny bit of suffering.  And for those out there being waited on, who are buying gum or cigs or coffee or gas, please remember, there is dignity in work, no matter what it is.  If people serve you well, buy them a cup of coffee, drop them a $20, or share an extra gift card you received at the holiday party.  If they are anything like my waitress and I, it will mean something to both parties.