Christmas at Denny’s

Last week my family and I traveled to LA to spend Christmas with our oldest son and daughter-in-law. Things didn’t go according to plan. We were scheduled to leave December 23rd. However, when I heard about the blizzard coming in we threw everything in the Suburban and headed out the night before…and drove right into the heart of the blizzard! One night in a hotel turned into three.

We ended up spending Christmas at Denny’s in Flagstaff, AZ. Not exactly the plan. But, that’s when God did something amazing. What I thought was going to be a bummer Christmas turned out to be the best Christmas our family has ever had and one we will never forget.

The restaurant was packed because it was the only place in town that was open. I noticed 5 empty stools at the counter (if you’ve not been in a Denny’s lately they have a bar in front of the kitchen). Our waitress was Leslie. It was obvious she had been working her tail off all day, but she was still in good spirits. Halfway through our meal, Herk (my 18 yr old), said he knew what he wanted to do with his money for the Challenge of Hope. At Christmas I challenged our church to give up one gift and give that money to someone in need. Everyone in my family decided to take one less gift and each got to decide what to do with their $25. Back to Denny’s…Herk wanted to give his $25 to Leslie. Then Skye said she wanted to, and I couldn’t resist either. $75 + 8 tip. I decided to round it off to an even $100. We gave Leslie a $100 tip.

But, that’s not the best part. When we left we waited outside by the window to see her reaction. The manager walked over, said something, handed her the receipt, and Leslie broke down in tears. She composed herself, turned around, and then broke down again. She never saw us looking in the window. Thank God for the blizzard that made this the most amazing Christmas for my family.

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