Strangers with Amazing Hearts

by Karen So
California, USA

I’m eight months pregnant, and wait tables every Friday night at a Santa Monica, California, restaurant. Since I started showing, my customers have asked nice questions about my pregnancy. I recently decided to take maternity leave because waiting tables is 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, after dinner, one 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.

Strangers With Amazing Hearts I was really confused and started to creep away to the side where the other servers and restaurant managers were standing. Another 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 more confused to be up there with them — I’m 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 complete 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 doing, amongst all the chaos are people out there with amazing hearts. The world that I’m bringing Soleil into isn’t a bad world, but a world that already loved her before she was even born.

Originally published as HeroicStories #381 on Feb 6, 2003

Audio Credits:

  • “envelope_handling_rustle” by vtkproductions via
  •  “cry” by silversatyr via
  •  “AMB_M_Party_Large1″by conleec via freesound,org
  •  “Small crowd cheering and clapping at party 2” by xtrsounder via

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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