It All Matters

November 9, 2016

cupcakeI have been asked to tell you a story about a single piece of cake.

It was a warm October evening during a challenging week for staff, guests, and volunteers of BSM. It’s easy to get tired in this work. It’s easy for your vision to become tunneled by weariness. However, regardless of the day’s challenges, when you come for dinner at BSM, something sweet will always cap off your meal—often it’s a great conversation.  If you’re here for dinner though, amongst all the unknowns in our guests’s lives a simple truth exists—dessert will be served. There is enough for everyone here.

On this Wednesday, a server of section five dropped her last tray of chocolate cake with sprinkles to table 52 and began busing nearby tables. Two team members noticed in tandem that a guest at the recently served table had put her head down and began to cry.  Terrell, tasked specifically with maintaining the physical safety of guests, silently signaled to Mo that he would tend to Ms. J.  Mo watched as he approached her gingerly, spoke to her softly and then traveled to the rear staff table to converse with Sous Chef TC Shillingford.

As Terrell reclaimed his post, he shared with Mo that today was the guest’s birthday and she was weeping because that single piece of cake signaled to her that anything is possible—she never imagined getting to have cake on her birthday and certainly never expected to be personally served and at a table so lovely. At that moment, TC descended on the microphone announcing with delight that we had a special birthday in the house and invited folks to sing and offer well wishes to Ms. J at table 52. An outpouring of love and warmth ensued from strangers who in this place behave more like family in town for a visit.

In hearing this story, I am reminded of coaching continuously offered to BSM staff by Social Services Director, Edd Conboy: “There is no such thing as small stuff. It all matters.”

I am overwhelmed with pride that even during a difficult week, when it can be easy to seek to accomplish the bare minimum, the BSM team ALWAYS rises to the occasion ensuring guests are welcomed and known. Today, I’m comforted by the spirit we see every day at BSM. We look out for our neighbors. We seek understanding when someone is upset. We know that emotional pain is as significant as physical and we move closer to each other. I will aim to hold dear to this and ask myself, how can we keep moving closer to each other? I will remember that there is no such thing as small stuff. It all matters. A special thanks to Terrell and TC from your friends and colleagues. We appreciate the ways you look out for all of us.


Written by: Jess Paschke