Faces In The Sea

Faces In The Sea #3 – Jacqui the Strong

Working as the takeout specialist at a characteristically busy Olive Garden cannot be an easy job. I worked for several years as a valet driver at the Seatac airport, and it pushed me to sanity’s limits, smiling courteously at people who are at their worst because they’ve been crapped on all day via flight delays, lost baggage, screaming children, and nearby fellow passengers with nose curling B.O. I suppose working takeout at Olive Garden is very much similar. Often, when people are ordering takeout, they’re on the tail-end of a crappy day, when the last thing they want to do is go home and cook. So, people who’ve had crappy days call the Olive Garden, and most nights, they’ll get Jacqui on the phone, and they’ll place their orders for exquisite, carb-laden delights – hoping, praying, begging for extra breadsticks – because the best way to recoup from a crappy day is to put yourself into a cheese and carb induced coma, doused with lots of butter.

There are those of us who find that the best way to boost ourselves at the end of a long day is to hear Jacqui’s fair weather voice on the speaker of an iPhone.

“Bongiorno! Thanks for calling the Olive Garden! This is Jacqui; how can I help you today?”

“Hi Jacqui, it’s Luke.”

“Luke! How are you today?”


“Oh, I hear ya…What can we get for you…”

Jacqui’s demeanor is not over the top, not forced; her friendliness is natural, because I believe that’s what she is at heart – a friend to people, and it can’t be easy when so many frequenters are starving more for personal attention and internal completeness than they are for a perfectly cooked rigatoni.

It’s been a rough year for Jacqui; she’s shared this with me, not in a complaining way, but in a way that a friend shares with a friend. She was faced with extended time off work due to medical issues, which inevitably lead to financial issues, and now she carries the burden of worrying about another surgery that’s been prescribed, which will lead to more work missed…Many of us are familiar with the cycle.

It takes a notable measure of strength to lay aside your personal worries and anxieties long enough to offer a friendly voice and a smile to another starving patron who may or may not think to say “hello” or “thank you” in exchange for your noble service. Jacqui does that – extends kindness in the face of frequent indifference. She’s a strong one, she is.

I hope those who read this will take a moment to think of Jacqui and whisper a prayer on her behalf. It looks to be another challenging year for her with more medical challenges, and I think it could do some good if she knows there are friends pulling for her.


19 replies »

  1. This is almost too much for my little heart to handle!! Your post is the second post that I read today about kindness, and the goodness that is still left in the world!! I’m a cry baby when it comes to witnessing good people doing good stuff! When you’ve know just how cruel people can be, you are moved when you see goodness in action! (: I will be praying for Jacqui and for you! Your generosity is heartwarming, Luke!

  2. Jacqui sounds like a fabulous person, something most of us are striving for. I wish her all the best and hope there are other options than surgery. Sending good thoughts. To you and to Jacqui and all the others out there struggling.

  3. I said a prayer for Jacqui and for all the others in her situation. You know I believe in prayer and especailly in the collective prayer! Thanks Luke for reminding me tonight to stop, sit down and have a little chat with God!

  4. Heartfelt best wishes for Jacqui. And like always, you have always rekindled the subtle warmth in our minds. I remember loving one of posts on Dexter (Salute to the unnoticed) that touched. Special thanks to you for reminding everyone’s worth and contribution.


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