While Vegas recovered from our stay, we determined our next stops. The Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Arches National Park all made the list, so we headed toward Boulder City, NV. We stopped at a small place called Southwest Diner, which turned out to be a great choice. Imagine all of your favorite local diner foods with an extra section of authentic Mexican foods. If you still aren’t convinced, just think excellent pie.

There we were greeted by the charm and smile of a woman named Susana. Her attitude and positivity were contagious. She guided us through the menu, told us her favorites, and shared her infectious laugh all the while. Shane and Chloe went the homemade sourdough bread route and ordered up some tasty sandwiches. Nate had been craving eggs all morning and went with a big plate of scrambled eggs. If you ever find yourself searching out the Hoover Dam, don’t hesitate to stop at Southwest Diner!

As we finished up our meal, Chloe couldn’t resist some take away rhubarb pie -- a clear sign of hanging around Minnesotans too long. While we chatted about the day, we couldn’t help but recognize how incredible Susana was as not only a server but as a person. She carried the same genuinely personable approach to every table. Chloe mentioned she overheard a group of children and their grandparents comment on how great Susana was when she left their table -- something we do so often as if it should be kept a secret. This project has been about recognizing those who really should be recognized, and we felt like our words and appreciation had to be shared with Susana.

Chloe wrote her a beautiful note of appreciation and put together an envelope with a large tip. Susana returned with a slice of Minnesota and we handed her the envelope. Without even opening it, she was incredibly thankful! She brought the envelope and multiple tables’ checks to the back of the diner. We looked at each other asking, “Did she open it?” We started to wonder whether she would before left.

A few minutes later, Susana returned with watery eyes. “Guys, I have to tell you I just opened that envelope,” she said in almost a whisper. “I would be crying right now but I can’t do that in front of all of these people.” Her face was full of emotion and her eyes continued to well up. We stood up and embraced her and could feel every bit of appreciation she had in that moment. Susana went on to tell us that she brings a positive attitude to her work and every table she serves. She described “grumpy” people as a challenge for her where she can work to make their day brighter. We can attest that even the grumpiest of grumps would have trouble holding a frown around a woman named Susana from Boulder City, NV.

To Mark and Vicki from your son… You have supported every decision I’ve made in life -- sometimes bright and other times not. You’ve complimented every success and never shamed my mistakes. You’ve given your listening ear more than your advice and allowed me to walk a path that I can call mine -- but not without your help. This is for the compliments I’ve made about you in whispers to others but haven’t taken the opportunity to say directly. Thanks for always being there, and thanks for being my parents. Today your contribution helped recognize another amazing person for similar qualities I admire in both of you.

To Cindy from your son… Mum, you have given everything to your family, friends, and even strangers your entire life. I met a man in Eureka, CA who claimed there are 3 types of people in this world -- those who take more than they give, those who take and give equally, and those who give more than they take. Without question, you give much more than you take. You have supported me through so many stages of my life no matter what fad I was following or dream I was chasing. I can never repay you for everything you have done for me and I can only hope that I can be half as caring and giving as you.

Appreciation is lost unless it is shared with those who deserve it.‪#‎ProjectWildness‬