I have a very special affinity with Benito. And whilst the food is great, there’s a whole other reason for dining out.
W and I have been friends ever since we started working together. We didn’t have the best start to our friendship as his in depth analytical skills clashed with my more social/people focused perspective. But after a few heart to hearts, we settled our differences and used it to build each other’s skills. It was a true interdependence relationship if I’ve ever seen it.
Originally, nearly 5 years ago, we got promoted at the same time. To celebrate, we decided to head to a restaurant to celebrate. Unfortunately, yours truly forgot to check the price range of this place. All I can say, is that we were glad to be promoted otherwise, we would not have been able to afford to pay. Ok, maybe that’s a little lie. We were always used to eating meals that were within the 8-15 dollar range and this for both of us, was one of the first work lunches where the meal was well beyond that. At that stage, I hadn’t heard about proper nutrition and would be on the seefood diet. I’d see food and eat it. And like with all things, once I found “my thing” unless something really pushes the boundaries, I won’t try anything else. Back then, I measured a restaurant based on the quality of their carbonara. And this Italian restaurant didn’t have it on the list. So for the first time, (first of many), I asked the waiter at the time if the chef would be willing to whip something up for me. And he was more than delighted to. Heck because they only used fresh ingredients, I got to see my pasta being handcrafted. Having never seen this happen before, I was more than happy to pay for the premium. And that was that. A great experience, a full belly and a tiny hole in my wallet which turned out to be eased by one of the best dining experiences I had so far.
Fast forward 5 years and again, we are both promoted at the same time. We had to see if the restaurant was still open and lucky for us. It was.
When we sat down, we had one of the most friendly waitresses. I do regret not getting her name, but I believe she had an English accent and the sweetest smile I have seen. So thank you so much you. Wherever you are and should you be reading this.
I relayed this story to her and then mentioned about the carbonara. And once more, the chef was happy to oblige.
I came away with some amazing life lessons that day.
1. We all have the power to make someone’s day through the little actions we take. In our ever increasing world of digital interaction, we all seem to be losing that small talk and conversation skills. The little things that make us human.
2. The power of vulnerability. Who the hell opens up to someone in a restaurant where there are a ton of other people that could hear us. Especially not a 6 foot hulking guy! In being vulnerable and asking for what I wanted and sharing my story, a meeting that was designed for just a lunch became an experience.
3. And as always, time. Time is the best gift you can ever give anyone. It’s the one thing, that once gone is never coming back. Money comes and money goes. But time once gone is gone forever. And whilst I may have had lunch, the meal will soon be forgotten but the experience and the time I spent with one of my closest friends will live on in our memory forever.
Go out make memories. And in the rush of every day life, don’t forget to live.