Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Posted: 12/21/2003 12:44:40 PM EDT
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. Belle 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 Belle Ringer and the other two

drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah,

Link Posted: 12/21/2003 12:52:10 PM EDT
Continued for PB,

Originally Posted By Pennville_Bill:
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 face.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I didn't get that table where Belle 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 that 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.

View Quote
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 1:15:36 PM EDT
that's a great story!! thanks for posting that.

"i love those goofy bastards"

Link Posted: 12/21/2003 1:19:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By thecleaner:

"i love those goofy bastards"

View Quote

Funny movie!

Link Posted: 12/21/2003 1:22:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 1:29:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Stormbringer2:
View Quote

French Canadian? [;)]
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 1:45:43 PM EDT
Nice story.

Kinda reminds me of this one:
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 6:53:02 PM EDT
...no I'm not.  It's just my allergies acting up again. [:I]
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 7:05:16 PM EDT
Is Stevie real, and is his story as related here true? Unfortunately, no — "Something for Stevie" is a work of fiction by author Dan Anderson, published in rpm Magazine for Truckers in November 1998 and reprised in the 2000 book Stories for a Faithful Heart.
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/21/2003 7:33:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MrsGloftoe:
Is Stevie real, and is his story as related here true? Unfortunately, no — "Something for Stevie" is a work of fiction by author Dan Anderson, published in rpm Magazine for Truckers in November 1998 and reprised in the 2000 book Stories for a Faithful Heart.
View Quote
View Quote

Stevie better be real because I'm Stevie.
Top Top