Friday, March 20, 2009

Annual Fund Helps with an Electronic Lift for ESS

We've been grateful that some of our parent donors took the time to dash off their Annual Fund gifts before Spring Break. This is a boost in the arm for us in the office, as we watch donations that come in be immediately put to good use.

Over spring break, the tennis courts are being prepared to be used as tennis courts, after their fall stand-in as a parking lot. Fields are being groomed, while the teams were out in Florida for spring training.

The most exciting event for me is that we are able to put an electronic lift for Gerry, our director of Educational Support Services. He's been a true champion, pulling himself up the stairs every day, multiple times a day, to get to his office, as we tried to work with the town for permits and with funding sources, to make sure his workspace was more easily accessible. Of course, this will be of great benefit for any student who happens to be on crutches.

The Annual Fund is down 9% this year from last year, no surprise given the economy. We hope everyone is okay, and we want to know that we're with you and support you as you have supported us. Everyone's donations are critical, so we thank everyone who continues to support us to the best of their abilities even as times are uncertain. Great things still can happen for our children here, and will happen.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

God Strengthens at Wendy's

It's amazing how a stranger can make your day. A kind word. A helping hand. Even a funny joke in a frustrating situation can uplift your spirits and bring a smile to your face. This is what Ezekiel did for me today.

After we got our hair cuts, my kids and I went to Wendy's in Norwalk on 123 to get Frostys and fries. I love Frostys. They remind me of being a kid and going to Wendy's with my dad to get chili and the frosty, soft confection.

We walked in, chattering and laughing, and I was scanning the crowded menu to find what we wanted to order. My eyes saw "Frosty" in the center of the backlit menu board, so I said to the cashier, "3 Frosty Shakes, 2 vanilla, 1 chocolate, please, and the biggest fries you've got." The cashier cheerily took my order and went to get the Frostys. As I was waiting, I thought to myself, "Hmm, they gave the Frosty a new name." When he was mixing up the Frostys on a shake machine, I thought, "Hmm, I don't remember that. I guess they changed their process." When he started putting the whipped cream on, I realized I wasn't in proverbial Kansas anymore.

Ezekiel, whose name means "God Strengthens"

"Wait," I said, "Are these Frostys? What happened to the regular Frostys?" By this time, the cashier, whose name was Ezekiel, had already made three lovely Frosty Shakes and had put them on the brown tray next to a *giant* box of fries. His co-worker, an equally friendly lady, pointed in the direction of the Frosty machine. That's when I saw the regular old Frostys on the menu, in the lower right hand side, slightly obscured by the, you guessed it, Frosty machine.

This is when the magic happened. Instead of rolling his eyes, sighing, or harumphing -- what, can't this lady even order at a fast food restaurant? -- Ezekiel smiled at me and said, no problem. He voided the order, and his co-worker showed up and gave me a Frosty, the old regular kind. For free.

In my 40+ years, that has never happened at a fast food restaurant. NEVER.

No one asked them to go out of their way. I didn't even expect them to cover for my incapability of reading a fast food menu that had the audacity to change since I was last there. They were just gracious, kind people who made the most of their jobs.

I was blown away.

Certainly, this wasn't the treatment I had received at the DMV earlier in the day. Admittedly, I was at the DMV to figure out whether or not our car's registration was expired (one would think I would know this) and I was more than befuddled to find the car was indeed registered but at another address in a town where we have never lived. Now the lady with the pink-lacquered nails on her stool behind the high walls of the DMV counter was not impolite to me. She was not inefficient. Yet her voice was tainted with a practiced tone of condescension, honed from days, weeks, or years of dealing with line-weary customers. If only the DMV had people like Ezekiel and his co-worker

Thank you, Ezekiel, and for everyone who engages in random acts of kindness.

This is what happens when you eat fast food. Sugar high!