Positive Chain Restaurant Story

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The Travelin Man
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2019/02/27 01:32:15 (permalink)

Positive Chain Restaurant Story

Look, trust me, I am not about to tell you all the reasons why you should go to an Applebee's while traveling 1200 miles away from home. Still, I was reminded last week of one instance where, maybe, the best four dollars I have ever spent in my whole life, was spent at my local Chili's. 
 
Not all the news is good, mind you. Just about a year and one week ago, I lost a dear friend to her battle with lung cancer. As a cancer survivor, myself, I know what the struggle brings to the way people think. It's hard to ask friends for help. Sometimes, it is hard to even want to be around other people. 
 
When she first received her diagnosis, she spent a lot of time in the hospital. I can't lie. I hate going to the hospital - for anyone. Somehow, in my head, whenever I am in a hospital, it evokes the times I had to visit my father at Sloan Kettering in New York City, and in my head, all I remember is that, as a kid, it smelled like what I imagined death would smell like. So, when Jennifer was first hospitalized, we exchanged a few texts and there was one night where she sounded particularly lonely. So, I made it my mission to set aside my own distaste for hospitals and pay my friend a visit. As part of our text exchange, I asked her if there was anything she would like for me to bring her, as I am sure that she had to be sick of being bed-ridden and trapped eating/drinking hospital dining. She asked me for, of all things, a frozen coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. I am not going to ever claim to be the most discerning coffee drinker, but I can promise you that I needed her to give me step-by-step instructions on what she wanted in that cup. Needless to say, for someone trapped in a hospital, I cannot think of many things I wouldn't be willing to stop and pick up for them on my way to a visit. The smiles on her face that I received when I stopped and picked up coffee for her will be etched in my head for a good long while. 
 
That is still not the best four dollars I have ever spent. A little over a year ago, I got the message that Jennifer had to be moved to hospice care and I should try to stop by. I knew the message that I was getting. She was in God's waiting room. Naturally, I asked if there was anything I could bring by. Her friend told me that one of the things that surprised her that day was that Jennifer had been having a hankering for Chili's chips and salsa all day. Now, I can promise, I have no interest in going to a Chili's - at home or anywhere on the road. But, if my friend, who may be on her last breath, wants some chips and salsa from a chain restaurant, if there hadn't been a location on the way to the hospice, I would have driven countless miles out of my way to square that up for her. Using the power of technology on my cell phone, I called ahead and placed an order for chips and salsa and arrived ten minutes later to pick it up. Including a tip for my server, one crisp five dollar bill had me on my way. 
 
I arrived at the hospice facility to a very warm receptionist, asking me who I was there to see. I gave my name and my friend's and he looked at a list and told me that I was on the "approved" list. It almost seemed like she was under guard. BUt, apparently, her room had gotten a little rambunctious, so the facility stepped in to reel things in. After receiving my guest pass, I walked to Jennifer's room and there were about a half dozen people in there congregating when I walked in. Jennifer saw the bag that I brought to the room, and I don't have the words to describe the ear-to-ear smile on her face. This woman was, literally, on her death bed. She could not physically get out of that bad, but all she wanted to do was jump up and give me a hug. I can promise you....the four dollars that Chili's earned from me on that Saturday afternoon may well be the best four dollars I have or will ever spend. 
 
This is not going to increase my dollar spend at Chili's, Dunkin' Donuts or any other chain restaurant, but if I ever think that someone who may not have much more time left on this planet wants a Dunkin' Donut or some salsa, I won't avoid these places like the plague, as some folks do. 
#1

22 Replies Related Threads

    leethebard
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 04:37:43 (permalink)
    Beautiful story Travelin Man. You are a great friend. And you make a point. One thing chain food offers is familiarity. And through this adventure called "life", sometimes you just want the familiar. Familiar can be comforting. It can be relaxing. And sometimes that's just what you want. Sometimes the "OK" is more than ok. And each of us has our "comfort" zone. And on that day, Chili's chips and salsa provided that visit to the comfort zone. God Bless You for that!
    #2
    ann peeples
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 06:49:53 (permalink)
    Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. Certainly tugged at my heart strings.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 07:19:03 (permalink)
    Thanks for the moving story Steve.
    #4
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 07:30:30 (permalink)
    Great story Steve...not only in the joy you brought to your friend but knowing you personally, I know it's not your first time earning your wings!  Love it bro! 
    #5
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 08:25:39 (permalink)
    Awesome, TTM.  It's a reminder that sometimes putting aside our personal biases to make someone else happy is the right thing to do, and while it can be a trite and overused statement...that's what friends are for.
    #6
    bigbear
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 08:37:21 (permalink)
    Tears welling up. Thanks for sharing.
    #7
    JRPfeff
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 08:39:51 (permalink)
    And you'll never be TTM'd at a chain restaurant.

    You are a wonderful friend and person Steve.
    #8
    kozel
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 09:46:08 (permalink)
    Thanks for that, Steve!
    #9
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 10:40:28 (permalink)
    Thanks Steve.
    #10
    tmiles
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 11:06:23 (permalink)
    Thanks for sharing
    #11
    mar52
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 12:49:58 (permalink)
    Thank you, Steve and thank you for being "that" person.
    #12
    Wintahaba
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 13:37:12 (permalink)
    Thanks...you are an example how all of us should be.
    #13
    mlm
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 16:05:36 (permalink)
    Absolutely wonderful story, Steve. You're an example to us all. God bless you for your kindness.
     
    #14
    saps
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 17:36:22 (permalink)
    Great and touching story.  I lost my wife to colon cancer in August of 2017 at age 49.  I'll never forget all of the acts of kindness, both by friends and strangers, that helped us along the way.  Some of the seemingly smallest acts turned out to be the biggest things. The attendants and nurses at hospice were special people as well, as you would expect they would have to be to experience what they do on a daily basis. 
     
    I'm often a jerk and contrarian on these boards who stops by just to harass, which isn't at all like me if you met me on the street.  It's easy to do. I realize that I need to pay it forward and spread kindness and positive vibes here, not spew garbage just to get a rise out of people.  I'm sorry for that.
     
    #15
    leethebard
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 17:44:57 (permalink)
    saps
    Great and touching story.  I lost my wife to colon cancer in August of 2017 at age 49.  I'll never forget all of the acts of kindness, both by friends and strangers, that helped us along the way.  Some of the seemingly smallest acts turned out to be the biggest things. The attendants and nurses at hospice were special people as well, as you would expect they would have to be to experience what they do on a daily basis. 
     
    I'm often a jerk and contrarian on these boards who stops by just to harass, which isn't at all like me if you met me on the street.  It's easy to do. I realize that I need to pay it forward and spread kindness and positive vibes here, not spew garbage just to get a rise out of people.  I'm sorry for that.
     



    #16
    Greymo
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/27 22:50:03 (permalink)
    Thank you, Steve.  I really appreciated hearing this so much.  It is not all about just Roadfood. It is making others happy.  My oldest son died very suddenly two weeks ago.  His birthday was just three weeks before.  My gift to him was a gift certificate for a dinner for he and his wife at Longhorn steak house.  He loved going there and I wanted to make him happy.  Unfortunately, he never had the chance to use it, but he was thrilled with the gift.
     
     
    post edited by Greymo - 2019/02/27 22:51:29
    #17
    Sundancer7
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/02/28 06:15:34 (permalink)
    I was once busted by one of our prominent posters for taking Mamaw Smith to McDonalds for lunch because she requested it.  She was 92 at the time and I would have taken  her anywhere she wanted.  I share your thoughts one doing what a friend in need request.  Mamaw enjoyed it.  She passed about six months later.  I still miss her every day.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville TN
    #18
    The Travelin Man
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/03/27 03:32:03 (permalink)
    Thank you all for the kind words. I can promise you - I am no saint. But, I do have a soft spot for friends battling cancer. 
     
    One of the things mentioned above was the idea of chains providing familiarity. My choice to spend money at Dunkin Donuts and Chili's was less about familiarity and more about my own unfamiliarity. As I said, I am not a coffee aficionado, and most of the folks here with whom I have dined will know that I am not fond of anything found on a Mexican restaurant's menu. If she had asked for chicken parm from the Olive Garden, that is not what she would have received. I have a local place that does a great chicken parm and I can only believe that, after eating that meal, she would not have been disappointed in me snubbing the Olive Garden. 
     
    Maybe a good parallel story for the Olive Garden is when I was working on Long Island. There was a group of colleagues that all stayed at the Hampton Inn in Commack. One afternoon, as we all arrived back at the hotel from a long day of running around on the Island, one of the others in the group suggested that she wanted Italian for dinner and "why don't we all go to the Olive Garden." There was an Italian restaurant in the shopping center next to the hotel....walking distance. Without skipping a beat, I said that if they all wanted Italian - there was maybe a dozen of us, our hotel happened to be near the Italian restaurant that my family used to go to when we celebrated someone's birthday. Everyone was on board. We went, had a great dinner. Everyone raved about the food. Towards the end of the meal, I had to use the restroom and asked our server where it could be found. When I got back to the table, I was sitting next to my best friend in the group. He leans into me and says "you've never been here a day in your life," which made me chuckle. He says "how did you know that this place was good enough to satisfy this large a group?" I told him that this place had been around for about 30 years. If they could stay in business on Long Island, where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an Italian restaurant, for so long, how bad could they be? Besides, the bar was set at Olive Garden. How good did it have to be?
     
    Anyway, I meant to write and thank you all for the kind words, but have just been too busy to swing by here. I wasn't looking for it....just one attempt at a story about a chain restaurant that turned positive. 
    #19
    leethebard
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/03/27 11:19:01 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man
    Thank you all for the kind words. I can promise you - I am no saint. But, I do have a soft spot for friends battling cancer. 
     
    One of the things mentioned above was the idea of chains providing familiarity. My choice to spend money at Dunkin Donuts and Chili's was less about familiarity and more about my own unfamiliarity. As I said, I am not a coffee aficionado, and most of the folks here with whom I have dined will know that I am not fond of anything found on a Mexican restaurant's menu. If she had asked for chicken parm from the Olive Garden, that is not what she would have received. I have a local place that does a great chicken parm and I can only believe that, after eating that meal, she would not have been disappointed in me snubbing the Olive Garden. 
     
    Maybe a good parallel story for the Olive Garden is when I was working on Long Island. There was a group of colleagues that all stayed at the Hampton Inn in Commack. One afternoon, as we all arrived back at the hotel from a long day of running around on the Island, one of the others in the group suggested that she wanted Italian for dinner and "why don't we all go to the Olive Garden." There was an Italian restaurant in the shopping center next to the hotel....walking distance. Without skipping a beat, I said that if they all wanted Italian - there was maybe a dozen of us, our hotel happened to be near the Italian restaurant that my family used to go to when we celebrated someone's birthday. Everyone was on board. We went, had a great dinner. Everyone raved about the food. Towards the end of the meal, I had to use the restroom and asked our server where it could be found. When I got back to the table, I was sitting next to my best friend in the group. He leans into me and says "you've never been here a day in your life," which made me chuckle. He says "how did you know that this place was good enough to satisfy this large a group?" I told him that this place had been around for about 30 years. If they could stay in business on Long Island, where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an Italian restaurant, for so long, how bad could they be? Besides, the bar was set at Olive Garden. How good did it have to be?
     
    Anyway, I meant to write and thank you all for the kind words, but have just been too busy to swing by here. I wasn't looking for it....just one attempt at a story about a chain restaurant that turned positive. 


    Great story. And so true..some people just gravitate to what they know!
    #20
    stricken_detective
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/04/12 01:49:20 (permalink)
    I'm sorry about your friend. I prefer Dunkin over any other chain.
    #21
    edwmax
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/04/12 08:50:04 (permalink)
    Sorry, I missed this post until  now.   ...  I'm sorry for your friend and do wish her & her family well in the last stage of her life (God's waiting room) as there is only one ending (for us all for that matter).   ... But thanks for sharing this story. It just shows how little things can make a BIG difference.
    post edited by edwmax - 2019/04/12 08:54:16
    #22
    leethebard
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    Re: Positive Chain Restaurant Story 2019/04/12 14:19:48 (permalink)
    edwmax
    Sorry, I missed this post until  now.   ...  I'm sorry for your friend and do wish her & her family well in the last stage of her life (God's waiting room) as there is only one ending (for us all for that matter).   ... But thanks for sharing this story. It just shows how little things can make a BIG difference.



    #23
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