A little off topic for this blog of mine, but had to share a letter I just sent to a great restaurant in my neighbourhood.
Last week I enjoyed a delicious meal at your establishment, Green Eggplant. Great food, great service, great atmosphere. But the reason I’m writing is to commend your staff members.
After our meal, as my friend and I grumbled about venturing back outside into the bitter cold to make our way home, we spotted a man coming in the door of your restaurant. This man was obviously suffering from a mental illness and was most likely going to spend the night outside on one of the coldest nights of the year. He walked into Green Eggplant talking to himself, which quickly escalated into a bit of a scene as he started yelling at patrons. It was hard to watch. I fully expected one of your employees to confront the man and try to make him leave. I wondered if someone would have to call the police. After all, who wants a homeless person in their restaurant?
Your staff, however, chose to do the opposite. I looked over and saw a waitress showing the man to a table. She spoke kindly and softly to him, which immediately calmed him down. She brought him a warm drink and some bread. I felt myself exhale. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to hug her for leading by example. For reminding us that having compassion for a fellow human being is more than just a monthly donation to your charity of choice. For giving us a little bit of perspective about how fortunate most of us really are.
When you live in a big city, it’s easy tally up the frustrations of day-to-day urban life: gridlock traffic, crowded streetcars, endless construction, noisy neighbours, not to mention the never-ending winter we’ve had these past few months. But that night, at your restaurant, I felt grateful to live in Toronto – a city with abundant kindness, warm coffee, and people who just want to do the right thing.
So, thank you. And bravo to your staff members who were working last Wednesday night. You should be very proud.