The First to Know…

As I have said in many previous posts my job provides me with many unique opportunities. None more unique than I experienced last week I must say. When I came to work on Tuesday and started looking over the notes in the reservations for the day I came across something that was not quite like anything I had ever seen before. The note said:

0-3“Attention JH- We will be arriving after our doctor’s appointment where we will be finding out the sex of our first child. We will give you an envelope when we arrive with the ultrasound results and we would like it if you would bring us a piece of peanut butter pie with either a blue or a pink candle in it so we will then know the sex of our first child. We love Joe’s and the Peanut butter pie is our favorite!”

Umm…Really? So you want the Maitre D’ at Joes to be the first person on the planet other than your doctor that knows the sex of your child? On the first read I thought it was one of the most ridiculous and ill-thought ideas ever. Then as I thought about it more I started to realize that it was a really fun and creative way to find out. Soon I would discover that this would be one the the best stories in my 10 years on the door! About 3 p.m. the couple arrived and they asked if I was Jim. They couldn’t have been a better looking couple or have appeared to be any nicer. They had a genuine glow of excitement about them and when I told them that I was really thrilled to be a part of their special lunch it seemed to resonate perfectly in the moment. I sat them in a nice private corner booth and they proceeded to order appetizers and soup and I established a banter with them from moment one. I asked if the family had wagers on the sex of the baby. They told me that she was fairly certain that it was a boy but that he had felt is was going to be a girl. We had a nice rapport and when they asked me if I already knew what the answer was I smiled and walked away. They knew I knew. Thank God the doctor wrote the results of the ultrasound on the image because I’m not sure I would have been able to have figured it out on my own.

As the meal wound down I prepared my pink and blue candles even though I already knew which one I needed I felt like I should have both. I even did a test walk with a Joe’s coffee cup over a candle to see if I could hide it until I got all the way from the kitchen to the table. With a plan laid out I met our sever by the kitchen door, took the peanut butter pie, placed the candle in the whipped cream and lit it. When the couple saw my en route they looked down to avoid peeking and shifted closer to each other in the corner booth. Just before I set the plate on the table she said, “Oh my God I saw it!” I lifted the coffee cup and they looked and then he said, “It’s a boy? I’m going to have a son!”

Well we all cried and and they hugged and I feel oh so privileged to have shared in such an intimate moment in a family’s life. A few minutes later he told me that his grandfather had passed around the time they found out they were pregnant and that he had been such a big part of their lives and now to have a son that will carry on the family name and lineage brought a new level of closure to his passing. To an outsider being a Maitre D might seem like nothing more than telling people where to sit. On a good number of days my life is enriched for the things I get to see and do. On this day I got to pass through a couple of people’s lives in a way I never thought I would. What a delightful surprise.



About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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One Response to The First to Know…

  1. Diane Onixt says:

    I never looked at you as just a Maitre D at Joes. You are indeed very special and David and I thought the world of you. I know how the couple felt-my son, Micah is named after my father Manuel who died just before he was born. Love, Diane

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