Thursday, May 22, 2014

At Dee's You Are Often Served More Than Food

Dee's Bagel Cafe/Deli & Grill serves a variety of sandwiches, muffins, salads, burgers, and of course bagels.  It is eclectic in decor to the point of being, well, odd.  Walls are decorated with sculptures of bagels morphing into tossed salad or bowls of soup.  Outside by the front door stands a two dimensional cut out of a woman holding a hamburger, a bagel, a cup of coffee and possibly some cookies.
It's really nothing fancy -- not the decor, not the food, not even the prices.  Eat your sandwich off of a paper plate or take it with you in a paper bag.  It matters not to Dee.  Denice Ingram used to work for the New Jersey Transit.  Now seven days a week Dee opens up her deli, grill and cafe and keeps it open until mid afternoon.
 Earlier this week I found myself sitting at one of the small, legs not quite even, tables on one of the smaller. legs not quite even chairs, eating my egg sandwich off of my paper plate.  I faced the door so it was easy to spot the man and woman who walked in.  Once they entered, Dee had three customers.  The woman sat down with her back to me and the man went to the counter to place his order with Dee.  Here's what I overheard.
Dee -- You're always smiling and you have such a wonderful smile.  You must have figured out the secret to living well.
Man -- Yeah.  I wish.  I just got laid off.
Dee -- Oh, I'm sorry.  That's a rough one.  But you know what?  You're gonna be fine.  I remember awhile back you said you weren't very happy with your job.  Sometimes life makes our decisions for us.  It's rough right now but pretty soon you'll find a job you love and later on you'll be glad you lost the job you didn't love.  Things tend to work out that way.
The man placed his order and returned to his table shaking his head and smiling.  Softly he told the woman at his table what had happened and added that somehow he felt more hopeful.
A few minutes later Denice Ingram walked to their table and placed a paper bag between the man and the woman.
Dee -- I just looked at my register and guess what!  You are the fiftieth customer today.  Every day the fiftieth customer gets half a dozen bagels just because that's the way it is.
She then resumed her position behind the counter ready to serve the next meal of tuna and hope.

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