Almost every Friday, I go to lunch with some guys from work. On occasion, the family gets to join us. One such Friday we all met at Applebee’s. It was the day after Owen’s second birthday. As we walked up to the door, it swung open and there stood the manager to greet us.
“Welcome to Applebee’s,” he said as we entered. “Hey little man, how are you?” I looked at Owen and asked him again, trying to make him feel it was ok to respond I guess. “How old is he?” the manager asked. We said “he’s two, as of yesterday anyway.” “Oh that’s great. I have a two year old at home myself.”
Eventually we get sat and on the way to the table Mr. S. from work asks me if we spell Owen, O W E N, which I assure him we do. I immediately interpret this to mean there is cake or pie in Owen’s near future. We sit and have our usual lunchtime conversations. There was a bit more talk about gaming since Halo 3 had been released like 3 days earlier, but I digress. Near the end of the meal we see the manager approaching with a few other waitresses, or so it seems, and he’s not carrying a cake, or pie, or any other confectionary product. No, he has a giant blue gift bag with lighter colored blue paper sprouting from the top. “This is different,” I think to myself. He hands a card to Jess with Owen’s name written on it in big yellow letters and states he was going to go the cake and song route, but knows sometimes the kids don’t react well to that. “So we got him this instead.”
I put the bag on the floor next to Owen and help him pull out the surprise gift. It’s a fire truck that’s almost as long as he is tall. “Every two year old boy should have a fire truck,” the manager says. I show Owen the buttons on the truck and he starts pushing all of them at once. The lights start flashing, the sirens start screaming. He loved it. Still does actually. He’ll just sit on the floor and push the buttons and play with the ladder, all the while saying “Daddy’s.” I guess he thinks all trucks are Daddy’s, or maybe he’s saying “like Daddy’s”. I’m ok with that for now. Eventually, Jack chimes in with some loud howling that makes Owen upset. Owen doesn’t understand why Jack acts that way even though we try to explain.
So this has certainly never happened to us before. It was very nice and it sure made my day. I’ll be saying nice things about Applebee’s for awhile anyway.
Oh I forgot to mention, and I guess it’s not obvious, but there was a gift receipt in the bag for the truck with that day’s date on it. So he must’ve run down to Target and bought all that stuff while we were eating. Something must’ve really clicked with that guy when he saw Owen. Maybe he reminded him of his two year old, who knows what made him do it. It was just really cool. What a surprise for all of us.