So you either love sushi, or you don't, or you fall into my 3rd category: you've never had sushi but tell everyone you don't like it because you don't think you will. Now if you love sushi, then the combination of this blog title and picture probably have you scared. I'm no connoisseur by any means, but even I know that sushi packaged like this CAN'T be the best you've ever eaten. That's what I thought too!
The volunteer at the desk at St. Vincent's waiting room told us Chase's surgery would last about 2 hours. I took a book. We had the IPod with us. Cell phones for texting. But neither of us could sit very still. It was mid morning, and we decided to do what comes naturally during anxious, worrisome, stressful times.....eat! We quickly cased out the cafeteria and were finally greeted at the pizza counter by Rochelle, who was serving up mini breakfast pizzas. She and Whitney exchanged warm smiles and friendly conversation about our son in surgery and our need for "comfort food". I had previously noticed that the sushi chef was fixing up sushi rolls like those seen in the picture above and, being a skeptic, I decided to get an opinion straight from the staff. Rochelle said the sushi was pretty good and made fresh every morning. Without giving it a second thought, she asked if I wanted to try some. Now you're talking! I'm thinking a free sample or maybe a complimentary cafeteria voucher, and I jump on the opportunity. Rochelle walked us over to the counter and asked me to pick one out. I did. Then she asked me to pick another one. Hey, why not, it's on the hospital, right!?! She takes both containers over to the checkout, and before I can process what's happening, she whips out her employee ID and payroll deducts $15 worth of sushi to 2 complete strangers from the surgery waiting room. Whitney and I immediately tried to fix this little "dilemma" by offering her cash. She wouldn't have it, and just laughed and scolded us for trying to steal her joy. We made our way over to a table to eat and Rochelle left us for her breakfast pizza station.
As for the sushi, it didn't taste as good as I hoped or as bad as I figured. But we couldn't stop eating it. A couple of times I had to take a big drink just to keep my composure. Whitney and I couldn't stop talking about what happened. We wanted to repay her somehow, but knew that our role was to receive this random act of kindness. Before we left the cafeteria, we went back to Rochelle's counter for one last thank you, and to let her know we were committed to paying it forward.
I don't know what was at the core of Rochelle's random act of kindness that day. Our relationship didn't last long enough to find out. She could never afford to treat every customer that way. So why us? Why me? It didn't calculate, and it was hard to receive. I'm not used to this sort of thing, and it made me remember the humility required to receive the gift of grace from God. The stakes were higher with salvation, but the humility was the same. I like to think Jesus made her do it. That she couldn't stand to let the opportunity pass her by to show the love of Christ to someone, even a complete stranger. That's what Jesus does, you know! We simply walk up to Him and He extends his love to us whether we deserve it or not, whether we ask for it or not, whether we want Him to or not. Thanks, Rochelle, for reminding me what Christmas is all about.
I've had lots of tasty sushi in my life, but this was by far the best sushi I've ever eaten. We celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world tomorrow. Show someone today why he came!