A few long days at the wheel carried us tired and filthy into West Virginia. Nate had scored another special “scrounger rate” at a hotel in Beckley, WV. At $43 after taxes and fees, we’d set a new record low price for Project Wildness! And lucky for us, the room was better than plenty we’ve stayed in while on the road. Either way, the pricelessness of a shower is absolutely apparent after multiple nights in the woods.
We’d arrived late and decided to try our luck with the Omelet Shoppe, a Waffle House-type diner just beside our hotel. Our on-the-road diets consist of far too many diner meals, which usually means greasy and fried foods, but this night’s cheese steak sandwich was (to quote Shane) “quite possibly the best cheese steak sandwich I’ve ever had.” So good, in fact, that we found our way back the next morning.
We sat waiting for our orders and looked down the restaurant. At the end were three UPS drivers enjoying lunch together. We don’t know exactly how to put into words the feeling that compels us to action sometimes. It’s a gut feeling. And when we get it, it’s impossible to ignore. Nate looked up to our server. “Have those gentlemen paid for their meals yet?” he asked. “Not yet,” the server responded with a curious look. “Can I pay for their bills?” Nate asked.
As Nate signed the receipt, the men rose from their table and walked to the register. The first driver placed his ticket on the counter with his phone to his ear. “Your meals are paid for,” the young lady told him. He looked at her with a furrowed brow, paused, and then spoke into his phone, “Hey, can I call you back?” He flashed his confused look around the restaurant and looked back to his server. “Wait, what? Are you joking?” he asked. “Not at all. It’s been paid for,” she told the man with a smile.
Throughout the exchange we remained silent. The UPS driver asked who had paid for them and the woman just said, “A customer in the restaurant paid for all of you.” And we left it at that. The three men walked out prodding each other to admit which one of them had paid. They all insisted the same, “Not me!” Sometimes a random act is just as meaningful when done anonymously, and this one felt right this way.
The men walked back to their trucks, and our attention focused on the four-person crew working behind the counter. We chuckled as they fired jokes back and forth. They were enjoying their work. They were enjoying each other. They were enjoying life.
We took care of our checks and slid a $100 bill across the counter. “This is for the four of you,” Nate said. The manager’s eyes widened and he looked up. “Thank you,” he said with a genuine smile. “You’re welcome. We just appreciate what you do.” Nate said. And with that, we said our goodbyes to the Omelet Shoppe. We can only hope to meet its deliciousness again someday.
Seek to recognize others, not be recognized. #ProjectWildness #LiveWildness #GoodInspiresGood
To Mark and Pam E… Your donation was a complete surprise to me just before we left. To know we have that kind of support from neighbors is a real blessing. Your donation went to recognize the hard work and positive attitudes of a four-person crew in West Virginia. Because of your donation, they got to experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. Thanks for supporting Project Wildness!
To Judy H… While the UPS man isn’t exactly a bus driver, he does drive a big bus-like vehicle around all day. Yellow bus. Brown truck. Close enough? Either way, your donation was used to buy lunch for three UPS men in West Virginia. Their looks were priceless! Thanks for helping us make this possible, and we promise to keep our eyes open for bus drivers as we keep on!