Strangers With Amazing Hearts

by Karen So
California, USA

Strangers with Amazing Hearts

I was eight months pregnant and waiting tables every Friday night at a Santa Monica, California, restaurant. Once I started showing, my customers asked nice questions about my pregnancy. I decided to take maternity leave because waiting tables was taking its toll on my pregnant body.

My last night, I worked a private party for 150 people. I passed small appetizer trays around and got drink orders. One particular group asked about my obviously pregnant belly; I told them it was my last night working.

Two hours later, a guy from that group said they needed my attention. I thought maybe they spilled a drink or needed more cocktails. Instead, he led me to the stage, next to a fellow holding our microphone.

I was really confused and started to creep away to the side where the other servers and restaurant managers were standing. A lady on the stage wouldn’t let me leave! The microphone holder said, “Welcome, thank you for coming to this special night for Safeco. We had a great year this year…” I was confused to be up there with them — I wasn’t not part of their company!

He continued, “May I introduce Karen So; she’s eight months pregnant and working her last night. Her baby girl due in March will be named Soleil– that’s sun in French. We took the liberty of asking you all to make a small donation for her. We present to you, Karen, a gift from all of us.” He gave me an envelope with a thick wad of cash in it! I was so shocked, I started crying! He continued, “We collected a little over $300 for you and wrote you a poem titled ‘”Karen So, Best Wishes for Your Impending Arrival.”

A boisterous, jovial crew we are,
Of giddy, playful adventurers

Who have traversed distances afar,
To sample pleasures of inn and bar.

To chance upon fair Karen So,
Soon to embark upon motherhood.

To wish her well our glasses raise,
And herald the arrival of young Soleil!

Tears couldn’t stop streaming down my eyes! I asked the lady where they were from. She replied, “Mostly from Seattle, also Denver and other places, for a convention.” The guy on the microphone joked, “A note to management: this is a gift to Karen, not the tip.” I was so elated; I couldn’t believe a group of strangers could have such a heart for me, their waitress!

I couldn’t stop saying “Thank you!” As people left, they came up to me, congratulated me, and I hugged and thanked them. A manager told me they asked for the envelope about half an hour after the banquet started.

No matter how bad the world seems to be, amongst all the chaos are people out there with amazing hearts. The world that I’m bringing Soleil into isn’t a bad world; it’s a world that loved her before she was even born.

Originally published as HeroicStories #381 on Feb 6, 2003

4 thoughts on “Strangers With Amazing Hearts”

  1. I remember this from when it was published in 2003. I cried then and I cried again today! Most people DO have kind hearts, if you give them a chance. I hope Karen and Soleil are doing wonderful!


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