This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
In today’s busy world we all need to make an effort to slow down and pay attention to the world around us.
When Lisa Meilander and her family sat down for a Saturday night meal at Eat’n Park in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, they had no idea they were about to witness a touching inter-generational moment that would warm their hearts.
It all started when a 91-year-old man sat down at a table near theirs and their server approached him.
“We really didn’t see him come in,” Lisa wrote on Facebook. “But we did notice when our server, Dylan, dropped to one knee to look him eye-to-eye as he got ready to take his order. The man apologized for not hearing too well. He had forgotten to put in his hearing aids. He talked about how he lost his hearing during his time in the war. He was 91 years old with many stories to tell.”
Dylan Tetil was working in Lisa’s section of the restaurant that day, and Lisa immediately noticed that Dylan made a beeline for the man’s table and quickly knelt down to talk to him at his own level. This simple act of accommodation made Lisa and her family smile, but as they watched Dylan listen attentively to the man’s stories they became increasingly inspired.
“He was very emotional,” Dylan explained later. “He was almost crying when he was talking to me, when he was talking about the war. It just really hit a soft spot in my heart, honestly. I almost cried, and I’m not a crier.”
Even as the busy restaurant bustled around them, Dylan maintained eye contact with the elderly veteran and gave him all the respect and attention he deserves. Lisa says that after some time the man apologized for talking so much, telling Dylan, “I’m alone now and I don’t often have someone to talk to.”
Dylan kindly told him that he enjoys listening to people’s stories before helping him figure out what to eat and taking his order back to the kitchen. Lisa suddenly felt compelled to do something nice for the man as well, which is the snowball effect that one little act of kindness often brings about!
“It was a touching sight,” Lisa wrote. “I wanted to offer to pay for the man’s dinner, but before I could flag down Dylan, a man seated at a nearby booth asked Dylan to bring him his check. ‘Someone’s already taken care of it,’ Dylan smiled. I guess we weren’t the only ones eavesdropping on the conversation.”
After receiving his dinner plate Dylan returned to the man’s table to tell him he was on a break, but then he did something even more incredible — he asked if it would be alright if he sat down at the man’s table to finish their conversation. “As we left the restaurant the two of them were conversing and many people seated nearby were smiling. It was a touching sight,” she recalled.
Lisa went home and shared the experience on Facebook, where Dylan’s kindness and consideration for his elders quickly went viral. She says that she was pleased to be able to do her part to point out a good deed done by someone of a younger generation, especially considering the bad rap many youths get these days.
“With all of the negative stories about our youth today this was a breath of fresh air. I wonder if I would have been as kind and attentive if I were the one working there. One thing’s for sure, if you are ever at Eat’n Park in Belle Vernon, ask for Dylan. If he’s your waiter you’re certain to get great service.”
Way to go, Dylan! It’s so important to reach out to the elderly in our community. Reminding them they’re still very much a part of the vibrant culture of our world, and that we respect their contributions to our current lifestyles, is essential.
Please share this story to encourage more young people to take the time to listen to their elders. You never know what you might learn!