January 8

Catering A Fancy Party Taught Me This About Gratitude

When my old friend asked me a few weeks ago to help her with a large catering event, I was excited.

I put myself through college working for a catering company and I hadn’t put on the ‘black and whites’ in many years.

I was looking forward to the hustle and bustle of serving and enjoying the delighted faces of those who would receive the service.

The event was a private polo match in the middle of a large field nestled in the mountains of central Virginia.

Our job: deliver a six-course lunch for 120 handpicked guests of the host, a local fancy car dealer.

The day of the event, we started packing the three large trucks and two cars at 7 am.

Over the course of almost two hours, we loaded coolers, warmers, hot plates, pots, pans, trays and trays of food, and what seemed like a thousand small bits and pieces into trucks and vans.

When we arrived at the giant tent an hour’s drive later, there were five-foot high stacks of dish and glassware racks already waiting for us.

For two hours, our team of 17 set tables, assembled food and prepared the front of the tent to receive guests.

For six hours, we plated, served and cleared course after course of gourmet food.

The dishes included delicacies such as eggs stuffed with hummus and topped with trout caviar and Lamb Osso Bucco. Each course was accompanied by a different select wine as well.

It was an amazing feat of culinary delight and the guests were complimentary and gracious.

At the end of the day, we packed up the trucks and headed back to the kitchen where we cleaned and put away the day’s tools.

All in all, it was over 12 hours of physical, exhausting work.

My Fitbit noted that I’d walked over 7 miles, almost every inch of it with something in one or both hands.

For the day’s effort, each team member received about $250 in compensation, the going rate for catering service workers.

As I crawled into bed that night I was achy, sore and utterly worn out.

But I was also overcome by the most intense sense of gratitude.

First, I got to spend the day with some of the nicest, hardest working people I’ve ever met.

From the two dishwashers who toiled the entire day with smiles on their faces, happy to be in the sunshine and earning a paycheck… to the young servers who took exquisite care of each guest, each one was a delight to work with.

Second, I was so incredibly grateful that I was able to transition from making a living with my hands and feet to earning my income with my brain and my voice.

Third, I was deeply appreciative the opportunities my parents gave me to get a college education.  And I am grateful for all the people who supported me along the way to achieving my goal of owning my own business.

Finally, I was grateful to each person I met that day for gracing me with a smile. I loved the feeling of serving the guests. It was a true pleasure to watch their enjoyment all day.

I woke the next morning, still stiff and sore. And I vowed that I will never ever complain again about my work being “hard” or my life being “difficult”. I vowed to be grateful for each day and each client.

I am blessed to work with engaging clients. It is a privilege to have people like you in my life.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a part of my circle. I am deeply grateful for your presence.

Thank you for the opportunity to help you grow and become the person you most want to be. Thank you for helping me live my own dreams.

I am truly overflowing with gratitude.

If it will help you, please download a copy of the Gratitude Journal.  I use it each day to keep track of how truly blessed my life is. It is my gift to you.



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