A few days ago we were eating at one of our favorite spots. I was seated before Terry and kept waiting for him to join me. As soon as he sat down he explained his delay, “I met a man in the parking lot who has a truck like mine and we started talking about our trucks.” (Of course they did, it’s a man thing)
After a few minutes, the gentleman, Charlie, came to find us. He wanted to talk to Terry a little more. He told us about his granddaughter, daughter, and son-in-law. He asked about our family.
When he left our waitress told us that he and his wife are regulars there. His wife now has dementia and he is caring for her. (That explained a lot to me about why he was eager to talk to Terry.) She also told us that he had taken his wife into another local restaurant recently and she had an accident on the floor. The restaurant told him not to come back. I cannot tell you the wave of emotions I felt for him. Honestly, even writing this I am welling up with tears. And the saddest truth is the restaurant that is refusing him service is not a fancy, posh, fine dining restaurant. The establishment where we met him is far more upscale. Moreover, he and his wife have been loyal supporters of that restaurant as well.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a loved one with dementia but I have. I watched Ned’s mother, my grandmother, Louise was overtaken by Alzheimer’s. I watched my grandfather, Troy, become the caregiver for my grandmother, Colleen, for ten years before having to place her in assisted living. And just recently my mother has been diagnosed with age-related memory loss. The thing about patients suffering memory loss is that sometimes their systems do not work properly. Sometimes they do not have control over their bladder or bowels. Sometimes it happens so suddenly you cannot do anything but stand in your mess until it is over. It is the same thing that happens to children during potty training. They simply can’t get there in time. And I am just curious, do restaurants ban people from coming back when children lose it all over their floors?
I have seen this playing out over the past few years and it sickens me but I feel as if we are slowly becoming a society of “survival of the fittest, the brightest and best.” But what if our fittest, brightest, and best are hidden gems among us? The ones we view as weak. The ones we want to put aside? The ones society says aren’t good enough. But the ones that Paul says, “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”1 Corinthians 1:27