But they both really wanted to go, and so we went.
I hadn't been to an Old Country Buffet in nearly 20 years and it didn't take me long to remember why. Most of the foods were deep-fried. There were three different kinds of potatoes, but only one option for vegetables; overly-steamed broccoli that looked completely unappetizing.
Lindsey loaded up her plate with carbs -- mashed potatoes with gravy, rice and a dinner roll. But then she hit the salad bar. Twice. Marissa did the same, choosing spinach over iceberg lettuce as the basis of her salad.
|Lindsey the photographer at OCB.|
|Now I know what my face looks like when I tell Lindsey to put away the camera.|
As we sat eating I noticed we were attracting the attention of an elderly woman at the next table. We had seen her walking to and from the buffet several times. She could not stand upright and was hunched over so far that she was only a few inches taller than Lindsey. She wore a fushia broomstick skirt and matching top, with a stylish hat like the ones black women wear to church, and a shiny scarf wrapped around her hair underneath. At one point she had three plates of food in front of her and she systematically ate her way through them. She wasn't incredibly overweight, so I speculated that perhaps this was her only meal of the day.
At one point she commented to me, "Your girls are such good eaters! Look at all the choices they have and they choose salad. I don't know many kids who eat salad." I smiled and thanked her for her kind words.
As we were getting up to leave, she motioned Lindsey over to the table. She started digging in her purse for something, and I approached the table, wondering what she was searching for.
She pulled out four dollar bills, and gave two to each of the girls. I protested, but she said she wanted to reward them both for being such healthy eaters.
I could tell that I would insult her if I protested too strongly, so I thanked her and told her we would make sure we used the money to help others. She nodded in agreement and smiled. "That would be wonderful."
It was only $4, but I could not believe her generosity and the simple behavior she wanted to reward. We talked in the car on the way back home, and the girls agreed that they want to use the money to help others.
We will be spending the next few days or week looking for ways to "pay it forward," using the money they were given just for eating salad.