Periodically, my husband and I head to a little town south of us and go to a small family-owned steakhouse where you can get a couple of enormous steak dinners for with beverages for less than $17.00. Of course, for a bit more, you can get some of their baklava which is excellent!
Tonight, after paying our bill, my husband and I were hanging around next to the cash register waiting for our steaks (well chicken for him) to come off the grill. One of the owners was managing the cash register. She rang up the bill of the people behind us and then sadly shook her head as he presented his check card. She was sorry but they did not accept plastic, only cash or checks. I should add that there are signs posted on the door as well as inside the restaurant.
The man had not noticed the signa. He looked at her and told her he was sorry. He had not been paying attention. He was sorry but they would need to cancel the order as he did not have any cash. She told him there was a cash machine at the corner but he didn't need to go there now. No! He and his family needed to sit down and eat while their food was hot. After their meal, he could go get the cash and come back and pay her. The man looked at her in disbelief. "Are you sure?" He could step out to do it now. She shook her head. No, eat first... then he could come back and pay her. He started to thank her but she waved him aside saying, "One must take care of one's customers. You are not the first one to not realize that we don't take plastic nor will you be the last. Your family is hungry. Eat now. There is plenty of time to pay me."
How much do you want to bet that man will remember that and that he and his family will be back? How much do you want to bet that he will tell others that story and that perhaps those people might want to check out this restaurant? This is one of those rare places where the proprietors do not simply look at people as money, they look at them as... well... as people. No wonder this place is often packed!
So what was the end of the story? After dinner did the man go to the ATM down the street, withdraw money and come back and pay for their dinners or did he slip out of the restaurant and into the night laughing to himself that he fed his family for nothing? I do not know.
What I do know is that someone was willing to take a risk and trust him to do the right thing. I am positive she has probably been burned before but she has not let that control how she reacts in the future. She recognizes this person is not THAT person and while she knows she might be taking a risk, still... she is willing to extend grace...even though it is not deserved.