Animal Crackers

Immediately after class, I opened the box.

The first bag, I gave to Jordan because he told me that he loves animal crackers. Then he called me weird.

Normally, after class, I put my headphones in and walk home. Today, I was going to Olsen with Jordan. As we walked to the Olsen Student Center my headphones were nowhere in sight and I actually paid attention to people. Walking past people I had thoughts like, do I give it to her? But then I’d have to give crackers to the entire group. I could give it to that person, but they have too many things in their hands. I could give him a bag, but he doesn’t look like he eats cookies. I basically made excuses for myself.

Eventually, I saw a friend walking past and I gave her a bag and she responded with a “Bless you.” I laughed, but I think this was when I gain the confidence to start just handing cookies out to people. I saw someone sitting down on a bench outside of Lewis Hall on her computer and gave her a bag. I didn’t ask her if she wanted it. I just handed it to her. She looked at the bag, then me, and with a smile said thank you.

I felt good, doing a good deed like that. I missed the feeling of making people happy and seeing them smile. This assignment really reminded me that I really like to see people smile. I hate people, but I never wish for their unhappiness.

I continued to walk and I wondered what was going through the minds of other people.

“Why did that girl give her animal crackers?”

“Oh! They must be friends, I wish my friends would do that for me.”

“I wish I had animal crackers. Should I ask her?”

Just some generic ideas of what might’ve been going through the mind of others.

Walking inside of Olsen, there were a couple of girls sitting across from the front doors and to the side was a group of three boys. At this point, I felt like if I gave the girls the animal crackers, I was obligated to give the guys cookies as well. I felt like being in an enclosed space, I had to give everyone around me a bag of cookies. While being outside if I gave the cookies to one person and another passed by I didn’t have to give that person cookies.

I gave a bag to the girl dressed in all black. She looked at me confused. She was also the only person that asked me: “Why?” My response, “Just because.” Her face lit up and she thanked me. I gave a bag to a sportier looking girl sitting two seats away from the other girl and she thanked me as well. Everyone on this campus seems to have manners.

The guys, I just placed them on their laptop or whatever they were doing and they all got so excited! One of them asked, “Is this your good deed for the day?” I said no but as I think about it was it a good deed for the day? It made me think about what good things I’ve done in the recent past. I can’t really think of anything. So, this might’ve been my good deed without me even knowing. Is giving out cookies, that I didn’t even buy and I’m only giving these out for an assignment really make it a ‘good deed’?

I left them with smiles on their faces.

Downstairs in Buck’s, I gave two more bags away. They didn’t ask why but they thanked me. I have a single bag left. I gave my last bag to a friend and called it a day.

People trust too much or maybe I just look trusting today. What if I wore my ‘I hate everyone (and pants)’ shirt? What kind of comments will I get then? What would’ve happened if I wore all black with pure black make-up? Would they be willing to keep those cookies then? What happened if I just threw them at people? Would they still smile about animal crackers being thrown at them?

There are so many different events that could’ve happened if I looked or acted differently. There was very little confusion in people’s face, just smiles of happiness. I find it so interesting because growing up kids are taught not to accept gifts from strangers. I didn’t know a majority of the people I gave those cookies to, and they accepted these cookies with smiles.

Jordan started choking on an animal cracker and accused me of poisoning him. For all any of those people know, I could’ve been trying to poison them! One girl asked a question and even then she trusted cookies coming from me.

What’s done is done. I believe that this campus is too kind and trusting of strangers. I’m happy I could make someone’s day a little better or more interesting with this assignment. Yet, was doing any of this my good deed for the day? I’m not really sure. I did get good karma, because someone gave me a banana nut muffin.

The 12 Top Table

Thursday night . . .

Jaden, a waiter at Olive Garden, is dressed in all black, apron included, with a green button pinned onto his shirt with his name labeled on it. He is in the back of Olive Garden finishing up a cup of coffee before starting his 2nd shift today.

Summer just ended and he spent it bartending in Okoboji, traveling to Miami, New York, and Chicago, and singing in the music building on campus to relax. With school just starting up, he doesn’t normally work weeknights, but he had Thursday off and decided that he can pick up a double shift. Not working at Olive Garden over the summer, he’s not completely on top of his Olive Garden serving game.

The night is slow until a 12 top table shows up. They are seated in Jaden’s section and immediately be feels a mix of panic and jitters. Jitters he’s assuming from the coffee kicking in, and panic to make this new 12 top table feel welcomed and that his other tables feel that they have his attention.

He goes to the 12 top table greets them and attends to them. Along with the a smaller table that he knows will probably feel left out. The smaller table is understanding of his position from also working in the food business.

Worn-out from the previous shift, earlier today, he still has a smile on his face and continues his job. Customers are seated and chattering about their day, while waiters and waitresses do the same in the back, the cooks banter back and forth as they finish up the meals. Jaden’s food for the 12 top table finishs in waves, so, as the meals are finished he brings the food out, with the help of his co-workers. He serves his other tables as well, topping off their drinks, attending to them as needed. He’s getting back into the swing of things.

The 12 top table leaves happy and a $40 tip. The other table leaves content with their tip on the table and compliments his service as they leave. Jaden is relieved for a good night and his shift at Olive Garden is coming to an end and a new day of school awaits him.