My Favorite Strangers: The Schiavo Family & Friends

It was just another run-of-the-mill Wednesday night as a server. People poured through the doors like it was a hoppin’ Saturday night and everything on the menu was free. (It wasn’t. You didn’t miss out.) The end of the night neared and, as expected, I was nominated to stay and shut the place down. That’s what happens when you work two jobs… you can’t ever expect to sleep.

Around 8 PM I got a table of four. They let me know right away that they were waiting for one more and would start off with some alcoholic beverages—my kind of people. I served them like I would any other table, but the fun didn’t really start until the fifth one joined us. Boy, was he a character.

“I’m glad you showed up. I heard you were the life of the party,” I bullshitted. Turns out Nicholas actually did add life to the party. Everyone seemed to come alive in his presence. He and his sister joked and their mom flashed a smile that said, “That’s my kids.”

My knack for sarcasm clicked well with this family, and soon we were all cracking jokes and taking names. I tended to my other tables, but always hurried back to a good time at table 51. Eventually it was dinner time and I delivered steak and other deliciousness to this appreciative group. Realizing I forgot a knife for the sirloin, I apologized and promised I would be back in minutes with silverware.

Three refills, a printed check, and a cup of ranch later, I returned to the table asking how everything was and if Nicholas needed another beverage. He replied with a grin, “I’m okay on beer, but… he is really getting sad about not having a knife.”

I gasped with embarrassment. “Pardon me! I have the memory of a fish,” I stammered. When I returned, I brought the knife on a platter and proceeded to get on one knee asking, “Please, will you ever forgive me?”

Not Having a Knife

The whole table laughed. It was then that I realized how refreshing it was to meet people who understood the imperfectness of my human brain. As a server, I often get glares or snarky remarks when I forget a refill or a side of ranch, but the Schiavo family and friends reminded me that life is too short to take that seriously.

After the laughter subsided and plates were licked clean, Nicholas called me over to the table. Just when I thought the man didn’t have a serious bone in his body, he said in the most sincere manner, “Alex, you are really good at your job.” I beamed like a child who had tied her shoe for the first time. His sister chimed in. “Every time you walk away, we can’t help but say how great you are,” she shared.

Now is when I give credit to their mom (and dad, who I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting). Nicholas and his sister, whose name I regretfully did not get, were absolutely fantastic humans. Their energy could light up a room… and they got it from their mother, who was equally as vibrant. The significant others they chose to surround themselves with were healthy for the soul. On Wednesday night, I met five people who not only made my second job more enjoyable, but make the world a better place.

So, Schiavo family, next time you decide to visit your Italian roots, I’m totally on board. You’re great company and everyone should have the pleasure of meeting you.

Loving the Schiavo family and friends? Read about Becky, Traci, CarrieAngelique, Jeff and his coworkers, and the Arizona boys—my other favorite strangers.

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