Hi Everyone! I’m so glad to be home from my deployment! Being active duty has many challenges, as does my family when I’m gone. While I was gone this time, I realized that I was in my “zone” and had completely forgotten about my own birthday. Now I know that sounds crazy but when your job is taking care of other people, we really seem to neglect taking care of ourselves and even our birthday.
So this year, I spent my birthday in Germany working a 14 hour shift. And what a day that was! It started out like every other day, going to work and checking out all my usual important stuff. I was really concentrating on helping some Wounded Warriors get home, so definitely not thinking about myself. Then it became lunchtime. So, I borrowed a coworkers car and proceeded to the shoppette to grab something to eat. After acquiring some non healthy food (pizza to be exact!) I pulled out of the shoppette and immediately saw the flashing lights behind me. Disgusted with myself for not coming to a complete stop at the stop sign, I rolled down my window.
The nice PFC asks me all the usual questions, and then asked me my birthdate. I looked confused for a moment and then asked him what the date was. He answered 28 September. I looked at him and said, ” Oh, well today is my birthday!” I was so tired that I had completely forgotten. But that MP sure didn’t and he gave me my first present of the day….a pretty pink ticket. As I drove back to the office, I was just so bummed that it was my birthday and I was again away from my family, and it’s not like I wanted all the young Soldiers in my office to catch wind I had gotten older, so I decided to say nothing when I got back.
I proceeded to get completely submerged back in my work for the rest of the day and even put in a few extra hours. When I finally left the office, I realized that there was only one place left, open that late that was close to my room that I could eat dinner at, and of course it was pizza again. So, I just said to heck with it and walked over there. The nice girl behind the counter looked at me and said. “Someone had a rough day.” I just smiled and looked at the mirror behind the counter, I looked super tired and dead on my feet. Those past few weeks had ben pretty crazy. So I placed my order, and like good people they look at your ID when they take your debit card to make sure it is in fact yours. I then went and sat down waiting for my order.
After 15 minutes went by, the ladies from the back came out with my order, half a carrot cake, some cookies, and some soda. They all sat down with me, sang happy birthday and ate dinner with me. I guess I didn’t realize how many times I had gone there and always been nice, given them tips, and told them I hoped they had a great day. One of them even reminded me I had walked in on a Saturday and fixed their cashier’s drawer because it wouldn’t close properly. I had forgotten about that. So all these times I had been nice and gave a hand when they needed it had not gone unseen. For this time, when I needed someone the most, out of left field I made some new friends, and has the best carrot cake ever for my birthday.
Lessons learned here: You never know when people are watching you, so always do your best and the right thing. Tonight, I tip my glass of wine to those ladies that made such an impact on my life while I was deployed, which I will surely always remember to pay it forward!