Today I heard a story. It has an important lesson.
A 16 year old female server in a retirement home dining room remembers how each table was occupied by the same people night after night. Some tables were occupied by couples. One table sat 3 couples. They chose to eat together every evening. One table had two sisters, one was blind, the other was a curmudgeon. No one looked forward to serving her.
The servers would take turns serving the various guest combinations. Soon it was the young girls turn to take the sisters table.
She knew Ms. Curmudgeon liked a lemon wedge in her iced tea so she brought extra lemons to the table. She felt she would do the woman a favor.
Ms. Curmudgeon was not amused. In fact she became irate and called the young server wasteful. She said other unkind things too.
After listening to the woman’s rant the young server replied, “Is this really about the lemons?”
Ms. Curmudgeon broke down and shared her heart and her hurt with the server. She was lonely. No one visited anymore and she was left to care for her blind sister.
After that the wise, compassionate server chose that table to wait on every day. She knew, “It’s never about the lemons.”
We can’t know the real reason people act the way they do until we take the time to ask. They want to know we care.
This is a lesson to me.