I have been working at Dolphin Bingo for the past 4 summers now, yes… it is a bingo hall, and over these past four summers I have built what feels like a second family. The same faces come every morning, sit at their regular table, buy an excessive amount of cards, and at times curse of the bingo caller for not calling out the number they need for a bingo. Now lets get this straight, I know the stereotype of the retired little old lady sittin’ in a smoky old bingo hall, dolled up in a sparkly pink visor and red lipstick is what pops in your head… far from the reality. Yes, there are still some sparkles, but the variety of people that have walked into Dolphin Bingo have inspired me and taught me life lessons that will forever remain with me. Let’s look at Joseph, who just saved up enough money to travel to Jamaica to see his family for Mothers day, or Chloe, who just recently lost all of her hair due to cancer treatments, or the divas that strut in at 10 a.m in their tight jeans and high pink heels, all of these people have taught me the concept of simplicity. Some of these people deal with stresses that I could not even imagine, and they always walk in with a smile and a “good morning”. The reason for this post however comes from one particular person. I met this woman 4 years ago, and completely fell in love with her personality. She is a single mom, raising a son (who she would not stop talking about… pictures and everything), her presence could light up a dark room, her charisma, her passion, her laugh, and her sense of humor stayed with me. Yesterday morning I saw her from a far, ran over and was so excited to talk to her. As I was getting closer, I could feel her look of confusion and was scared she didn’t remember me. When I was saying hi with a huge smile on my face, she told me she recently had a stroke, lost the majority of her eyesight and lost all feeling on the left side of her body. Her speech was slurred with a minor stutter as she asked me to help her get a apple juice. My heart sunk. My eyes watered. But I kept the smile on my face. As I got the apple juice for her and walked her to her seat, my eyes suddenly stopped watering as I realized her up beat personality and sense of humor was not lost from the stroke. She was still the woman I remembered, and yes she still did remember my face.
The lesson I learned is to never loose yourself, not in any circumstance. Always smile, have a sense of humor, and laugh whenever you can (or always ha). That’s all. Have a lovely Saturday night. xo -CK