This story takes place the evening the eastern snowstorm that came to the Shenadoah Valley, which if you're not able to recall the date was the 18th of this month.
I was scheduled to work that evening at New York Flying Pizza in Bridgewater, and was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to attend the Heatwole Family Christmas Dinner. I enjoy the people I meet through my work, so I wasn't completely disheartened.
On this particular evening not many customers were braving the snow covered roads to come and enjoy a pizza, so my employers were making plans to close early. Even as plans were being made to close the doors early I knew it wouldn't be early enough for me to join the rest of my family for dinner.
As I thought these thoughts, the owers of the restuarant came to me to say that they didn't need as many waitresses as they had and as soon as the customers at the bar had finished their drinks I could go home. It was 6:15 p.m. when this announcement was made.
One of the eight gentlemen sitting at the bar overheard this conversation, and commented that it was nice I would be able to get home early and off the roads. Having a 4-wheel drive vehicle this wasn't a concern to me, and I told him I would be trying to make the family Christmas dinner, even if I was late.
He kindly asked what time the dinner was to be and I replied, at 6:30 p.m. At this he looked to all the other men sitting at the bar and they all smiled and simultaneously picked up their beers, chugged the remains of their drinks and brought the empty mugs down with a satisfying thud onto the countertop.
I stood there amazed at their generousity as they retrieved their wallets and began settling up accounts, with hefty tips being left me as a Christmas gift. As each man was leaving we hugged and I wished them a Merry Christmas. I left work at 6:25 p.m. as they were pulling out of the parking lot, and I made it to the family Christmas dinner only 15 minutes late.
As I shared this story with one of my Aunts that evening at the Christmas dinner she replied, "it's a Christmas story." Sure, it involves beer chugging (not the most attractive form of ingesting a beverage), but the heart and thoughtfulness of the gesture truly was a symbol of the season :)