Life Coach Magazine

A Half-Eaten Pizza and a Story to Share

By Stephanie Jones @1MakeDifference
A Half-Eaten Pizza and a Story to ShareThe end of October my husband and I took a mini-vacation. We kicked off the vacation by taking in a Michigan football game at the Big House. It was our first night game and we had a blast.  From there we would journey up to Niagara Falls, Canada. We had never been to Niagara Falls and were excited to visit this popular tourist destination.  I gave several fun gifts along the way, but this one impacted me the most.
 My husband and I travel quite often and we have gotten into a routine that when we visit new cities there are several things we love to do.  If they have a Hard Rock Café we’ll visit for dinner or dessert as we love music and it's seeing all the memorabilia.  Even though I don’t drink beer, we’ll visit the local brewery because it’s something my husband enjoys.  We don't eat at chain restaurants as we want to take part in the local cuisine.  If there is an aquarium, we’ll go.  We visit the top rated local attractions from Trip Advisor and if we can rent a place or stay at a local B & B we’ll do that as many times we get an opportunity to interact and support people who have lived in the community their entire lives.
Our first night in Canada we located Taps Brewing Company and decided we would check off “visiting the local brewery.”  Taps was established in 2004 and brews custom crafted beer in small batches, using only four ingredients: pure filtered water, select hops, choice malted barley and yeast.  Interesting stuff…for beer connoisseurs.
I ordered the personal pizza, which when it arrived, was much larger than I suspected.  As I was eating my first slice three young adults slid into the booth attached to our booth.  When they sat down, the first thought that came to my mind was they looked like vagabonds.  I say this because they were a bit scruffy and all carrying backpacks. My observation could be way off target, but that was the feeling I got.  I also noticed they kept staring at my pizza and they looked at the menu for quite some time.  I’m not for sure if they were just indecisive or they didn't have much money and needed to figure out what they could afford.  Again, all my observations and it could have been neither of those things, they could have just been taking their time.
A Half-Eaten Pizza and a Story to SharePrior to the pizza arriving I had downed half a plate of loaded nachos.  My husband and I always love to try the loaded nachos and these were some of the best we had ever had. We like to consider ourselves nacho experts!  So after two pieces of pizza I was stuffed!  I leaned over to my husband and said, “I would love to give the rest of my pizza to the kids next to us as my gift of the day. Is that strange?”
He replied, “No, I think you should do it.”
I said, “I feel dumb offering a half-eaten pizza. Is that gross? Plus I’m embarrassed.  It’s always so awkward striking up a conversation with strangers?”
His reply, “You are always talking about befriending strangers and challenging others to do so?  Kind of hypocritical if you ask me.”
He was right! Yes, I put it in writing. My husband was right.  Guilt poured over me and I knew what I had to do.  Even though initially uncomfortable, I have gotten in the habit of striking up conversations with strangers as a way to make a connection and show kindness.
Just as we were having this conversation, our sweet waitress Victoria showed up and saved me!  She asked if we needed a box for the pizza.  I sheepishly said no, leaned forward and whispered,  “I would really like to offer the pizza to the table next to us.”
Victoria got a big grin on her face and said, “That is awesome!  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in Canada and I can’t wait to go to church tonight and share this story.”
A Half-Eaten Pizza and a Story to ShareI pulled out my wallet and handed Victoria one of Emily’s Pay it Forward cards and explained how Emily was killed while texting and driving.  I shared that her family had these cards printed as a way to honor Emily’s life, keep her memory alive and challenge others to pay it forward and share her tragic story of the consequences of texting and driving.
Victoria looked at the card, read it over and said, “I’m sharing this with my brother.  He needs to hear this!”
After she tucked the card in her pocket, she announced to the table next to us, “This kind lady would like to give you the remainder of her pizza. She has only eaten two pieces, is staying at a local bed and breakfast with no refrigerator and doesn't want it to go to waste. Would you like it?”
Like children on Christmas morning, their eyes lit up and all three started nodding their heads.  Victoria picked up the pizza stand and moved it to their table.  They immediately started grabbing pizzas and before we left had finished it off. 
I know it sounds silly, but as I write this story I tear up because like many other times through this journey, I felt a tug that day. I observed my surrounding and felt called to share my pizza.  In these instances, I can never explain why, but I feel like God placed me in their path to help them out, to feed them, to show them kindness and to spread Emily’s message in another country. 
We never know the impact of our actions. But there will never be an impact if we never make the CHOICE to take action. 
I think about this day and wonder, was there a ripple effect?  In some small way, did these young adults pay it forward?  Did Victoria share with others Emily’s message and how a lady gave away her half-eaten pizza? Was a life saved?  If she shared the pizza story did others pay it forward also?  I’ll never know the answers to these questions and for me they aren't the reason why I give.  Of course I can hope, but at the end of the day, for one small moment in time strangers connected, food didn't go to waste and Emily’s story was shared.
Click here to learn more about Emily’s story.  

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