Sarah enjoyed her job. A lot of people didn’t get that waitressing was one of the most rewarding of jobs — at least where she worked. Most of her customers at the seaside resort hotel were there on vacation and always in a good mood.
When a man walked in with his teen son, she was struck by the way he watched the boy with desperate eyes. They ordered the house special, but while the man ate his meal with gusto, the boy pushed the food around on his plate. His eyes were even sadder than his father’s.
“Wasn’t the pie good?” Sarah asked cheerfully as she cleared away the boy’s plate — the apple pie with ice cream was virtually untouched. The boy blushed and let his fringe fall forward to hide his face.
The father answered with a smile. “The pie is great, it’s just that Kyle isn’t very hungry today.”
An act of solidarity and courage is worth a thousand words.
Sarah smiled and said, “You’d better have more appetite for lunch tomorrow ’cause we are having our barbecue special!”
The man answered. “We’ll do our best!” Then he got up and steered the boy towards the elevator that left up to the rooms. A few minutes later, Sarah saw him again in the lobby, talking to the manager, looking very serious.
The man walked back into the restaurant and came over to Sarah. “Could I have a word with you?” he asked. Sarah noticed that he was very good-looking, despite his sadness, and his voice was gentle and kind.
“Of course,” Sarah said.
“My son. He has leukemia, and he is here to undergo chemotherapy at the institute,” the man said in his quiet voice. “Tonight he wants to shave his head so he won’t feel the cancer is winning when his hair starts to fall out.
“I’ll be shaving my head too, so what I wanted to ask you is that you don’t comment on it. Please just act normal
Sarah nodded and replied, “Of course. Please don’t worry. I’ll talk to the rest of the staff too.”
The man smiled. “Thank you! I’m Oscar, by the way!” he said.
Sarah smiled back. “I’m Sarah… See you tomorrow!”
When they walked into the restaurant for breakfast the next morning, Oscar and Kyle were in for a surprise. Sarah had shaved her head too! She grinned at the bald-headed father and son and said, “I thought I’d join the club!”
Kyle started giggling. “You look so funny!” he cried.
Sarah placed her hands on her hips and gave him a mock frown. “FUNNY? I’ll have you know that this is what the best heads are wearing in Paris this season. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!”
Instead of brooding over his bald head, the boy was laughing at Sarah’s jokes, and Oscar threw her a grateful glance. Oscar had been raising Kyle alone since his wife had also died of cancer when their son was just seven.
When Kyle had been diagnosed, Oscar was devastated. He was facing the same enemy again, and this time he could lose all he had left, his beloved son. Sarah’s cheeky grin and her brave gesture uplifted his heart.
When Kyle went up to rest a while later, Oscar went back to the restaurant to talk to Sarah. “Thank you,” he said. “You have no idea what your gesture has meant for Kyle and for me. You sacrificed your beautiful hair…”
Sarah shook her head. “It was no sacrifice,” she explained. “I lost my mother to cancer when I was very young, and I remember her courage. She taught me everything I know about love. I just wanted to pass it on.”
Oscar had tears in his eyes and he gave Sarah a grateful hug. From that day on, Sarah became Kyle’s best friend, and when she had her day off, she would take father and son to see the local sights.
Fortunately, Kyle’s treatment went well, and the doctors declared that he was in remission. “But we’re coming back soon!” Kyle cried, and Oscar nodded.
“Yes, we’ll be back in two months,” Oscar said.
Another treatment?” asked Sarah.
“No,” Oscar said smiling. “It’s a vacation and we…I mean…I was wondering if you could take time off to be with me?”
Sarah smiled. “I’d love to…”
A year later, Oscar proposed to Sarah and she accepted. The two were married and Kyle was the best man. In honor of how they were first brought together, the bride, the groom, and the best man all shaved their heads.
It was the most beautiful and moving wedding anyone had ever seen and all the guests cried. Two years later, Sarah and Oscar welcomed their first child together and made Kyle a big brother.
What can we learn from this story?
An act of solidarity and courage is worth a thousand words. Sarah’s gesture helped Kyle accept what he was going through and gave him the courage to fight for his life.
Love is a contagious disease. If like Sarah you spread love to the people around you, you will receive that love back a thousandfold.