Saturday, July 11, 2015


Solitude, Wrightsville Beach, NC

The majority of the time I approach a restaurant hostess by myself, the Pavlov response is generally “Just One?” As a single senior and when I was traveling alone on business, I have always found this to be “unwelcoming”. On occasion, my response has been “no, not just one, me!” They never have a response for that and they never consider why it’s just one today. But yesterday, I finally encountered the ultimate response at a restaurant tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I approached the hostess with a request for a table for one, her immediate response was “Oh, then you’ll be in good company”. I left a very nice tip. Today I walked into a local restaurant for lunch and before I could even speak the host asked, “Just one?”

Ironically, we were discussing church hospitality that same evening at a visioning meeting. Progressive congregations are now placing greeters in the parking lots to assist folks in locating parking spaces and provide directions to the correct locations at the church. Members are greeting people as they approach every open door of the facility and making them feel welcome. This is all well and good provided these folks have some training and sensitivity. It was noted that a friend had recently lost her husband to a terminal disease. The experience had prompted her to visit a local church in search of a sanctuary on a very bleak early winter’s day. When she approached the main doors a greeter observed that she was by herself. Attempting to initiate some small talk, he asked her if the family had let her come to church alone this morning. She was so caught off guard that she simply turned away, walked back to her car and probably never returned.

It’s been said that you should never make any presumptions about people because you never know what their journey is all about. And everyone almost always has something going on in their life which a little sensitivity could help to soothe and resolve.

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