At the counter

I know many who are reluctant to dine out at a restaurant alone. If you are one of them, this tale is for you.

Now, coming from a public safety background, a widower for a time, and now retired I have and do dine alone often and have found the following to be the best strategy. Sit at the counter!

This morning I felt like breakfast out. I determined to go to a locals spot famous for home style breakfast. Now, when I say locals spot, I’m speaking of that “Cheers” type business where; “Everybody knows your name”. Someday when you would like a treat to put a smile on your face; Google and listen to the words of the theme song for that amazing show.

By sitting at the counter you are no longer alone but among a new set of potential friends, the Staff and others who know the value of the counter. Going back to the Cheers setting; you notice Norm, Frazier, and Cliff never sat at an isolated corner table but always at the counter. In doing so they were an involved and integral part of the social interaction. The same is true in real life.

This morning at a little after 7 am I walked in and was greeted at the door. My first request, can I sit at the counter? A knowing host said; “sure, pick your spot”. I chose my spot among others; one a Native American man with long hair braided down his back, one a clear Republican with his “Let’s Go Brandon” hat proudly worn, another older man with a timid voice that one had to concentrate on to hear, and me with a plaid shirt and Harley Davidson hat among several others. All so different but yet the same, you know products of a melting pot, the Great American experiment. The conversation? Well, everything from the weather to the Supreme Court and cases being considered this session.

I saw co-workers arrive at work and give one another hello hugs that had real meaning. I witnessed, laughed at, and participated in bantering with each other. All good natured and fun. I heard time and again how much each staff member enjoyed and looked forward to coming to work regardless of their duty; from cook, to service, to washing dishes, because like me as I enjoyed my sausage and eggs, they enjoyed being with their peers. I have served in management positions of human resources at front line supervision in the past and would have done almost anything then to create a work environment like the one I witnessed this morning.

I watched in amazement at the quickening of pace as additional customers filed in. I watched a fine tuned system kick in and those same friends now a part of a very effective service team rose to the demands of the day. The smiles didn’t fade and the polite teamwork didn’t change.

Others finished their meal or drink and left. I heard salutations like; “Have a good day Bear!” To which my Native American associate said in return; “You too!” I finished my breakfast, wished my new friends of this morning a pleasant day and walked out knowing I would have one too.

We all travel this life alone but the degree is completely up to us. Be surrounded by loved ones, have a great day, and I will see you at The Counter some day soon!!!

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