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Don't Assume You Know the Backstory...

Santa Johnathan

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Forgive me, my Clausnet friends, I find myself wanting to express a thought here this evening and unfortunately after a very long day it might be difficult. I highly doubt my brain is up for the challenge but I'm willing to try.

I do hope that my blog posts do not come across as judgmental as I write these thoughts down for me...a personal reminder. If what I write helps you as well or causes you to think, then that is a wonderful byproduct to me needing to get something typed out.

I wanted to start by telling a short story:

Now, when I was younger, my father, would have much rather prefer having a football player as a son to follow in his footsteps, but he ended up getting a musician that would not play sports in fear of hurting my piano-playing fingers. While I was making very good money as a musician while in high school, my father was frustrated that my "job" was just not "hard enough" for his liking...he wanted to see me work a little harder and required that I not play or sing but get a "real job" to earn some money. His suggestion was the restaurant industry as he had done at my then age. I had a friend who was managing a restaurant and I applied and was hired as a server.

I must say, I learned some great people skills as a server and loved interacting with so many people at my young age of 16. It was not as easy as playing the piano for a wedding...but I had a blast working in the restaurant and quickly became not only a server, but I would go in early and bake all of the pies for the day too.

Now, back to the real reason for this story. I had been working in the restaurant a few months and having really enjoying it. This was not a fancy restaurant, it was a modest, every day common stop for decent meal. It was a chain restaurant called, "Baker's Square." I remember this couple that came in...they were probably in their late 30's or early 40's. They had an average meal and a slice of pie. Their meal and my service were nothing special...again, just a regular couple, eating regular food. After they paid I was clearing off their table and then I noticed there was note left with a very small tip. I actually kept the note but don't remember where it is at this point so I will have to do my best to remember it...

"Dear John, Thank you so much for your kind service, we have been saving all year for this meal to celebrate our anniversary. Thank you again for making us feel special."

There are certain things that can happen in your life that I would call a "life-changer"...and this note was one of them. I set a goal that day to be the best person I could to those around me. We have no idea what someone's back story is. What might seem common place, simple, normal...might not be the same for someone else. I think we can certainly apply this lesson to portraying Santa.

I really don't care if you're tired, if your back hurts, if you knees hurt...you have no idea where that child is coming from that is sitting on your knee in that very moment. Perhaps the family had been saving for months to afford a photo with Santa, perhaps they had to take the bus or had a personal journey to finally get to where Santa is. Perhaps a child just left Mom or dad in a hospital room or perhaps they were recently abused and you symbolize hope...you NEVER know. In that very short time, you and I have an opportunity to make a difference and help someone feel special, loved, important, etc.

I am the first to say that I can get grumpy, cranky, and impatient. I need to try harder to make sure that I do not let my own mood ruin someone's experience with Santa. In that moment...you can forget about "insert your own name" ...you ARE Santa.

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