The Folded Napkin … A Truckers Story
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me
that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and
wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little
dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.
I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses
tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were
the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly
polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truck stop germ” the
pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be
flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the
first few weeks.
I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little
finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After
that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in
blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties.
Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible
when Stevie got done with the table.
Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished.
He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining
room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and
glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he
thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing
his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries
for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck
stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between
the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to
live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that
morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.
He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social
worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t
unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at
work in a few months.
A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of
surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little
dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers,
stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table.
Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.
“We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.”
“I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?”
Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery,
then sighed: “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,” she said. “But I don’t know how he and his Mom are
going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.” Belle Ringer
nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.
Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him,
the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush,
Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left,
and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said. “This was
folded and tucked under a coffee cup.”
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in
big, bold letters, was printed “Something For Stevie.
Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and
everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She
handed me another paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills
were tucked within its folds.
Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: “truckers.”
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work.
His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it
didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he
was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.
I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them
both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed
through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. “Work can wait
for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!”
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the
staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth
after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table.
Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on
dozens of folded paper napkins.
“First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie
looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie”
printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.
Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his
name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.
“There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that
heard about your problems. “Happy Thanksgiving,”
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few
tears, as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each
other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the
table. Best worker I ever hired.
Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it
fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.
Well.. Don’t just sit there! Share this story!
|Agora, Izmirhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/İzmir Clock tower
the foot of the highest hill in Izmir is the restored Agora,
I heard of the movie of the same name advertised yesterday.
Movie review can be seen or read on
Review by Margaret Pomeranz
AGORA is a sword and sandal epic of a rather different kind. It’s set in Alexandria in the 4th century AD where Hypatia, RACHEL WEISZ, teaches science and philosophy at the famous library. Her student Orestes,OSCAR ISAAC, is in love with her and so is her slave Davus – MAX MINGHELLA. But for Hypatia the world of the mind is everything. Outside the hallowed walls of the great library there is turmoil as Christians begin to challenge the pagan theology of the Roman Empire.
This is a rare film about something. ALEJANDRO AMENABAR has used the story of Hypatia allegorically to celebrate rationality and despair of extremism. He’s also been daring in rising up from the authentically created world of Alexandria to take a Google earth view of this centre of civilization.
RACHEL WEISZ is beautifully dignified as this woman who, centuries ahead of Galileo, grappled with the constellations and earth’s relationship to the sun. But within the film is also a powerful story of politics, religion, loyalty and love.”
The woman who brings it to life, Rachel Weisz ~~
Tablelands, South Burnett, Cairns, Burdekin, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast councils have voted to remove fluoride from drinking water.
By 2012, 87 per cent of Queenslanders had fluoride in their drinking water.
Mr Langbroek – free to express his view on the issue because it was not a decision of cabinet to remove fluoride – said the councils had made very bad decisions.
I am searching through this harvest advice to see if the burr like irritant I am passing was in my breaky cereal?
Page 9:18 may show it is a type of clover..
Was my cerial 1/2 price because of too many foreign seeds?
Small foreign seed 1% Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Ball clover (Trifolium glomeratum), Fat hen
by weight or volume (Chenopodium album), Fescue (Festuca spp), Hares Ear (Conringia orientalis),
Hedge mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), Knotweed
(Polygonum aviculare), Lesser Canary grass (Phalaris minor), lettuce (Latuca spp),
Lucerne seeds (Medicago sativa), Maltese Cockspur (Centaurea melitensis), Medic
seeds (Medicago spp), Milk thistle seeds (Sonchus oleaceus), Amsinckia (Amsinckia
spp), Australian Phalaris (Phalaris aquatica), Bladder Soapwort (Vaccaria hispanica),
Yellow Burr Weed (Amsinckia spp), Wild Canary Grass (Phalaris canariensis), Canola
or rapeseed (Brassica rapa), Slender Celery (Apium leptophyllum), Dock (Rumex
spp), Mustard (Sisymbrium spp), Indian Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium orientale),
Paradoxa Grass seed (Phalaris paradoxa), Pepper Cress (Lepidium spp), Ryegrass
(Lolium spp), Wild Sage (Salvia verbenaca), Salt Bush (Atriplex muelleri), Sorrell
(Rumex acetosella), Sow Thistle (Sonchus spp), Mediterranean or Wild turnip
(Brassica tournefortii), Urochloa Grass (Urochloa panicoides), Verbena (Verbena spp),
Wild Radish seeds (Raphanus raphanistrum), Wire Weed (Polygonom aviculare),
Sheep Weed (or white ironweed or corn gromwell or stone weed) seeds
(Lithospernum arvensis), Marshmallow
Here I am getting in over my head..
She does not know what she is talking about” ~ what a Cheauvanist says when found out!
when I get into some nitty gritty facts on the subjest .. the system stops working. ha ha , ha ee
I am not a member so cannot down load.. the other site says
Reshaping the Middle East
We’re sorry, but Foreign Affairs does not have the copyright to display this article online.
What enthusiasts took for a global rush to democracy may be reversing direction, with backsliding and stalled transitions in the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East. So far, one sees disarray or new strongmen much like the old; no competing ideologies seem to be beckoning. Market reforms have not been the cause in most cases. More affluent countries with Western ties seem to be sticking the course better. However the trend plays out, it should lead the administration to rethink democracy promotion. The truth is that U.S. policy is not significantly responsible for democracy’s advance or retreat in the world.
Despite its seemingly thorough approach, Raymond Garthoff’s apologetic treatment of Soviet Cold War policies fails to explain why communism collapsed.
Despite what many argue, Arab and Muslim rage at the United States has had very little to do with actual U.S. policies–policies that have been remarkably pro-Arab over the past 50 years. Promoting anti-Americanism is simply the best way Muslim leaders have found to distract their publics from the real problem: internal mismanagement. New U.S. policies or a PR campaign will not change matters.
Is the water making me ill? I don’t drink it but, bathe in it, wash my dishes n clothes..
Quote/ ”NEW analysis of the waters rushing through the Fitzroy River in Central Queensland show it had too many metals – including aluminium, iron and manganese – to be considered drinkable.–
The State published results of its “enhanced environmental monitoring program” online, showing levels of the three metals “exceeded the drinking water aesthetics guidelines”.——
But a government spokesman said results showed no adverse affects from any mine water releases”.http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/research-finds-water-rushing-fitzroy-undrinkable/1778668/
Government says: (Last updated 21 February 2013) This program provides an independent collection and analysis of water samples at key sites along the Isaacs and lower Fitzroy river which have the potential to be impacted by the pilot mine releases (Figure 1).http://www.fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au/monitoring-program.html Water is sold to councils, they in turn charge residents .. State Government Housing has its own rules.!! What ever State …
A resident in Blackwater (town water comes from Bedford Weir Mackenzie River which flows into Dawson R then to Fitzroy..All the same undrinkable slop! http://www.cqnews.com.au/news/still-no-solution-to-dirty-water-problem/1771120/ Dysart water also from Bedford Weir.