Posted by: Diane | February 14, 2014

OVERFLOW! 11.18. 2012

It’s the middle of November and we haven’t even hung our outdoor Christmas lights yet but thanks to yesterday’s shenanigans, I’m now officially getting into the Christmas spirit.

OVERFLOW! met again…a group of fifteen multi-aged women getting together for the past two and a half years…and yes, that’s me hamming it up with Anneke’s hair braid. You can dress me up but you can’t take me anywhere.

It’s a bit early for Christmas celebrations but then again, I know a woman who puts her Christmas tree up before Hallowe’en. The thing is that it’s tough to co-ordinate seventeen women’s school, work and social calendars. Yesterday worked for most of us so OVERFLOW! happened.

Our crazy gift swapping was fun ( thanks, Gloria and your parents, for letting us hang out at your house!)  but clearly, the very best experience was the Pay It Forward dinner at the Swiss Chalet restaurant. The thirteen of us sat at a reserved, (thanks, Danielle for organizing this!)  long table and when Pat, our waitress came along, we let her in on our intentions for the afternoon. We explained to her that the group wanted to pay for some strangers’ meal. By her expression, it was obvious that Pat had never been involved with this kind of “Pay It Forward” experience but you could tell that she had the adventurous spirit and was very willing to participate.

My job was to case the joint, looking for recipients of a free meal. I had to strategically choose customers whose final bill would be around the $100.00 mark and who would be finishing their meal at the right time. I skulked around the restaurant, looking for potentially good candidates. The first table had three older women and three younger women. The second table had two adults and four younger people, ranging from about five to sixteen years of age. Once that decision was made, I divided the thirteen women at our table into two groups. Each group was assigned one of the tables that I had chosen and they were  told to make up a convincing story about why their given table’s meal should be paid for.

Once the mission was explained, the women began to create their stories.

Group 1 decided to stay with the OVERFLOW! theme and try to convince us all that the group of women were in fact, a multi-generational group of women, building into each other’s life.  Very dramatic, very timely….very “pulling at the heart strings” strategy. The second group focused on a hungry goat named Carlos and well…that story just went downhill from there.

However, when I pulled our waitress into the decision making process, she suggested that we go with Carlos the Goat story. Why? Well, the group of women were sitting on the other side of a big wall that was dividing the restaurant and Pat suggested that seventeen women gawking over the wall to watch this group’s reaction to the good news of a free meal might just blow our anonymity.

She makes a good point.

So, we went with the goat story and watched the waitress tell the people that their $90.00 meal and tip had been paid for by someone in the restaurant. It was fantastic to watch their expressions – they were overwhelmed. The older man took off his glasses to wipe some tears, the younger boy just smiled from ear to ear, one young guy started to look around the restaurant, wondering who paid.

It made all of us happy to be part of this random act of kindness.

…and Pat, our waitress? I think it made her day. As the OVERFLOW! group headed out, she looked at me and said, “This was amazing…please…all of you come back…and be sure to ask for Pat. OK?

What a wonderful start to a season that celebrates giving.

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time, keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight.   Philippians 1.9 TLB 

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