Friday, 5 August 2016


Is there more at stake to the choices you make than just your future? Could you be living a life that is not of your own making? These were the questions that raced through my mind one very ordinary looking day. It turned out to be a mind-opening day.

I was having breakfast in a restaurant on a recent working trip. The waiter greeted me warmly as I went to serve myself. He then retreated to a corner of the room, taking on the common stance that waiters assume with their hands clasped in front, a towel dangling between them.

As I sat down to eat he came and asked whether I needed some coffee or tea. Not being particularly fond of hot drinks I declined and said the juice would suffice. He noticed that my glass was small and offered to bring a larger glass of juice.

So the morning went on. He would serve me, then go back to the corner and watch. It was as though at every moment he was observing me and asking himself what else he could do to make my breakfast better and my stay more comfortable.

I got drawn in by all this and also started to observe him. He was humble, quiet, almost making an effort not to be noticed as he stood in that corner. His manner seemed to suggest that he was not important at that point, the customers were.

Your past and future – The generations before

As I stared at him standing in that corner I was drawn back in time. I remembered that my own grandfather had worked in a hotel. He was not a waiter and I can’t remember exactly what he did there, but it suddenly dawned on me that he might have been in a similar situation – catering to customers’ needs in the hotel.

Wow, I thought, what a change of roles. I mean, there was my grandfather working in a hotel some decades ago and doing what he could to support his family and make a better life for his children. Now, here I was, two generations later, sitting in a similar hotel and being waited on by someone.

It struck me that my being in the position was a result, one way or another, of the sacrifice, dedication, love and commitment of my grandfather to his wife and his children. It wasn’t just him though, but everyone else that came before me. My grandparents raised up my parents, who raised me. Where would I be had they all not done their part?

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