I had a visit from the Ghost of Double Cheeseburgers Past today and this greasy spirit taught me an interesting lesson.
Eons ago (ok, early 1990s) I was working as the program director/morning host/music scheduler/production director/news director/trash taker outer for the small radio station in the town where I grew up. Across the street from the station was a restaurant called The Treat which made (to this day) the best double cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten. When I would be with anyone and we were struggling to decide on what to get for a meal, the answer was always to head to The Treat. I don’t know much money I spent there during my time in Shippensburg, PA…but I’m sure it could buy a small South American village.
Often in the mornings I would throw on a long record or program a few songs into our lone CD player and run across the street to get a double cheeseburger for breakfast. (Hey, I’m a teenage/early 20s boy, I’m working at 6am knowing college classes immediately follow work and the burgers were like heaven on a bun.) It reached the point that I didn’t even need to tell them what I wanted on it, they’d just ask if I wanted one or two when I walked in the door.
One January we had a blizzard hit the area like we had not had in a long time. I remember drifts over three feet high around my folk’s house and having to get a snowplow to come to my house and lead me into the radio station so I could get it on the air with public service messages and emergency messages. The downside was they told me I’d be on my own after I got to the radio station…which meant I was going to spend a few days alone inside the little bunker we called WSHP.
It was not a fun experience. After a while, I could see the walls start to crawl. Remember, this was long before internet was everywhere, cell phones came in giant bags and phone calls still cost you each time you made one. There was NOTHING to do after I ran out of books that I brought with me. None of my friends could come in to visit with me.
The morning of the second day, I’m in the studio when I hear a knock on the door a little after 6am. I looked outside and didn’t see a car or a snowplow, so I peeked around the corner and saw someone standing in front of the door bundled up in at least two jackets, a scarf and as our Canadian readers would say, a tuque. So I came over and unlocked the door, realizing that it was one of the cooks from The Treat across the street.
“Here,” I can remember them saying. “We thought you could use these.”
I thanked them and they turned and ran back toward the warmth of their restaurant.
Inside the bag?
Two double cheeseburgers just the way I liked them.
At the time, I thought it was cool and ate them without much thought. Today, I realized that this was a group of folks who knew me, knew how much I enjoyed their food and they appreciated what I did at the radio station enough to think that on a day when no one could get around (and thus I couldn’t get out to get a hot meal) that they would go the extra mile and show me that cheesy, melty, warm appreciation.
Now, normally when someone writes a story like this, they’ll throw in the life application along the lines of whether you allow people to know you enough to get into that situation. Or do you appreciate other people that they would want to do something like this.
I’m going to flip the coin.
How many people…and I’m not counting relatives…do you know enough to do something like this for them?
Do you take the time to care enough to really get to know the people that you see on a regular basis? You might have a few friends that you know that well. What about the guy that you take your car to every single time it needs service? Have you ever taken the time just to chat with him and get to know a little about him? What about the woman that works at the convenience store where you get your coffee every morning? Do you even know her name?
I’ve lived in large cities and small towns and I have to honestly say in small towns it’s more common that people know each other on the level I’m talking about here when they’re not blood relatives or good friends. But I’ve seen it show it’s pleasant head in Nashville and Memphis and Springfield a few times when I lived there.
The common thread in all of those situations?
It made the people who were “known” feel happy, appreciated and sometimes even loved.
And don’t we all want to feel that way ourselves?