Back and forth. Back and forth. He walked from the door of the restaurant to the outdoor patio for five straight hours. Each time, carrying at least 1 liter of beer, and at times carrying up to 6 liters of beer. The hard working old man was working on a Sunday, serving some crazy Americans who were (over)celebrating their friend’s recent Berlin marathon finish.
Back and forth. Back and forth. All night long, for six hours straight, he never stopped smiling. He made sure our liters were never empty. He joked with us and laughed with us. About three hours in, he introduced himself as Ralph. He even began joking and dancing with us. When he carried out the beers, we shouted, “Ralph!!!!!” applauding him for his great service.
Halfway through the night I noticed Ralph was hugging a family from afar. He gave a child a kiss on her head and hugged a few others. I could tell they were his family by the way he treated with them. He continued to serve us, stopping to enjoy a few minutes of family’s company who were sitting at a table inside each time he went in to refill our liters. It wasn’t long until I noticed Ralph’s feet were deformed. They were oddly shaped, causing him to walk on the outside of his foot.
How could this man be so happy? He was working as a waiter on a Sunday away from his family as they enjoyed a nice dinner together. His deformed feet and tired hands hadn’t had a rest in six hours. He was watching his American customers have the time of their lives celebrating life.
And he never stopped smiling. Ralph’s smile taught me something that night. He taught me always to be happy and thankful. Life can be tricky. It can feel like you’re walking the same path over and over again, back and forth, with deformed feet and tired arms. During those times, you just have to smile and be grateful that you have the opportunity to walk because things could always be worst.
Danke schoen, Ralph.
To witness Ralph’s extremely positive attitude and smile, visit him at the Bombay Indisches Restaurant in Berlin.