The last few months of massage school were dedicated to preparing for our state board test and finishing our clinical hours. This was hands on practice that was required to receive our diplomas from the school.
Our usual clinic days consisted of 1-3 hours of massage in the school clinic setting. My sister was a huge fan of volunteering for such practice. I would massage her for an hour and often times she would toga wrap herself in the sheet and move on to another room that needed a body for practice. Often times folks would take advantage of the special $15 an hour deal and book directly with the school. I remember how nervous I was to touch total strangers. For instance, One time I asked a woman every 8 minutes how the pressure was. (Yes, I kept count) I was unsure of my every move and couldn't read body language at all. I now realize that lady just wanted a relaxing one hour vacay without feeling interrupted by my self-confidence issue.
I was nearing my massage school clinic career when Barb was on my table. She was a nice lady that seemed to enjoy my massage even with my amateur abilities. When the hour was complete she kindly thanked me and gave me a tip of wadded up paper money. I was in between clients and had to quickly prepare for the next so I took it, thanked her and nonchalantly put it in my pocket. I finished that day and took the wadded bill out of my pocket. It was a hundred dollar bill! OH EM GEE! I almost fainted on the spot. I was a single mother that would attend massage school during the day and bar tend at night. I'm pretty sure in 1998 I didn't encounter many people handing me that kind of money. I was so in awe of what had happened. I was in awe that a stranger believed in me. I was in awe she saw my potential and she valued what I had to offer. I never forgot that day in the massage clinic at National Institute Of Massotherapy and how I felt. Appreciation, excitement, hope, validity....That day I started a mental bucket list. I wanted to do a similar act and pay it forward to a deserving person of service.
Fast forward 18 years. I spent my 42nd birthday wandering around "Doing Me" as they put it. First, I took myself to breakfast. I sat contemplating what I wanted out of this upcoming birth year. Besides world peace, traveling the world, owning a ranch in Arizona what could I possibly do THAT DAY??? My intention of those very purposeful and long term goals and intentions faded as Carla, my waitress, refilled my never ending ice tea cup. I noticed Carla was older. Possibly in her 60's. Most likely a second job or a career waitress. I could see that she knew her job well and seemed to be happy taking care of her section of customers. At moment it hit me! CARLA IS MY PERSON. Today was the day I pay it forward. I ate my breakfast and got up from the table to pay the bill. I filled out the credit card transaction fighting back tears. The lady at the register asked me "Are you Sure?" when she noticed the $100 tip on the credit card receipt. I nodded my head "yes" as I heard her say, "Of anybody here Carla is the most deserving."
I left quickly and made it to the car where the tears streamed down my face as I thanked Barb for her gesture many years back. I am grateful everyday for opportunity. I am grateful everyday for recognizing the strengths in others. I am grateful everyday for a journey of experience that led to explosive growth. I am grateful for those that believed in me every step of the way and I am grateful for those that told me "NO". I am grateful I could give back without hesitation. And finally, I am grateful for that strong inner knowing that someday I would 1000% believe in me. November 21, 2016 was that day