*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events a friend and I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
Over the course of my life I have worked in a lot of restaurants. I love being a waitress, I love having an easy job where you know exactly what is expected of you but also one that changes every day. Every day you get to see and talk to new people that you wait on, and on top of that, you work with so many people that sometimes become big parts of your life.
If you work at a good restaurant, your coworkers become like a sort of extended family. You look out for each other, you hang out with each other, and a lot of times, you tend to fall in love with each other.
I worked at one restaurant for years that saw a lot of love connections but none were more sweet than the relationship between Marissa and Tom. Marissa was a waitress, Tom was a prep cook, and they flirted every time she passed through his work area to get to the walk-in cooler and back. Both of them were quiet wallflowers, not the type that generally works in restaurants to begin with, so I think that’s what made their connection strong.
A year or so after they started dating, Tom proposed and they started to plan a very modest wedding as they were both restaurant workers which means, not very well off. On top of that, Marissa’s parents couldn’t afford to help, and Tom’s mother refused to help.
Unfortunately, Tom’s mother thought her son could do better than a waitress - even though he was only a prep cook. She never took to Marissa at all and was always cold and unwelcoming to her. Tom told Marissa he wasn’t even sure whether his mother would come to the wedding.
Fifty invitations were sent out. The restaurant we worked for catered their wedding for a quarter of the price any other place would, they had their reception at a VFW and Marissa’s pastor made sure everything at the church would be free.
The wedding day came and finally the moment Marissa’s father would walk her down the aisle. The doors parted before her and she saw her husband-to-be standing there waiting for her. One side of the aisle was full of people, the bride’s side. The other side of the aisle was empty but for the coworkers who had managed to get the day off to attend.
Confused, Marissa got through the ceremony, struggling to look at Tom’s sad face as he held back tears, trying to make it a good day.
No one was there for Tom because Tom’s mother had called everyone in the family who’d received an invitation and told them that the wedding was canceled. She didn’t show up either, of course, which at that point to Marissa and Tom it was a good thing.
An even better thing was how welcoming Marissa’s family was to Tom, and they made the best of a bad situation, enjoying the reception and sending every guest home with a package of leftover food due to the people who didn’t show up.
After the wedding, Tom tore into his mother for what she did to try to ruin it for him, and then didn’t talk to her for years until she finally came to him and made a formal apology. The apology that came only after a grandchild, of course.
What would you have done if you were Tom or Marissa?
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