Life Lessons in a Pizza Box

Life lessons in a pizza boxGrowing up my mother always told us that you never know what is going on behind closed doors.  It is a lesson I have not forgotten because it has proven itself to be true over and over again.

When my husband and I first moved to this home, we ordered in all the time from our local pizza place.  We were pulling crazy work hours, getting adjusted to a new state, had a toddler and a baby on the way. Dinner by phone was standard practice in those months.

That is when we first met Geo.  He worked at the pizza place down the street. We always waved and made small talk when we went there.  He came to recognize our voices on the phone, and knew our regular order by heart.  When we stopped in he would show us photos of his wife and their baby boy.

Time went on, as it tends to do.  We got busy with or second child. Since eating pizza is not exactly the best way to lose baby weight, we wound up there a little less often.  They had also hired a few new people who took orders by phone so when we did call or stop by we often missed Geo’s shift.

One day I noticed that there was a big jar at the counter next to the register.  It had a note that explained that they were collecting money to help an employee who is fighting inoperable brain cancer.  Above the note was a photo of Geo.

It had not been Geo’s shifts we were missing over the past few months.  It had been Geo. 

What an important reminder that you just never know what may be going on in someone else’s life. 

From time to time we would ask about Geo’s condition and how his family was holding up.  Sometimes the news was grim and other times it was positive.  We finally saw him again a year or so later when he began working shifts to try to make ends meet while he was feeling up to it.  He looked well and we told him how glad we were to see him.

Yesterday I took my now six year old for a slice of pizza in the middle of a busy day.  At the counter I put my change in the jar for Geo as we always do.  That’s when I saw it.  There was a new note on the jar.  It said that Geo had lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.  He was 37.

I cannot stop thinking of Geo and his family.  Not only because I am deeply saddened by his passing, but because he unknowingly gave me a very timely gift.  These past few weeks have been filled with too much drama and too much judgment.  There are people in this world who are dealing with more pressing concerns than worrying about how someone else lives their life, raises their children or runs their business.  Seeing that new note on the jar reminded me to focus on my own matters, to pay it forward, and to stop getting sucked into unnecessary drama.  Life is too short for anything else.

Rest in peace, Geo.  The extra sauce is on the house.



  1. We had something similar happen to us, with a local artist. She was so kind to my then toddler and we would spent so many afternoons hanging out in her gallery . As time passed, we grew busier and busier and the last time I saw her she told she was fighting a terrible flu. It turned out she had cancer (unbeknownst to her) and died shortly there after. I felt the same way you do. now. Life is short and treasuring the moments we have now is a mantra I always try and remember.
    I’m sorry for your loss, Jessica.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Well said — really well said, as the tears stream down my face. Also, I said those very words “you never know what is happening in someone else’s life” to my kids just a couple of hours ago. Too true. Important lesson, but still oh so sad. Hugs.

  3. This is such a wonderful post. My mom lost her battle to cancer as well. She kept it hidden from everyone for a long time. She didn’t want anyone to look at her any differently because she had cancer. Life is short, and we all need to learn to enjoy our own families and do the best we can with our own lives. Granted, I do “preach” a lot on my blog, but I’m no saint by any means, and I definitely don’t judge others because I spend to much time judging myself. :)

  4. I love this. you have such a beautiful way with words, too.

  5. Wow, that does make you pause and really think about things. I’m so saddened that he lost his battle but what a lesson he gives to us through your post.

  6. So sad…
    You’re right though life is too short for anything else and yet from time to time we get wrapped up in so many things that don’t matter. We need to learn to slow down and enjoy the little things in life before it’s too late.

  7. So many stories and so much sadness … over here we take it day by day, because no matter how awful it seems to be, we have our health, we have eachother and we will make it thro. Thank you for this xxx

  8. Oh I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s amazing how we can be touched by people in our lives that we only see for brief periods. You are right – life is just too short to get wrapped up in the unnecessary.

  9. What a wonderful post…I’ll be saying a prayer for Geo and his family. Life definitely is too short.

  10. Oh gosh, did this hit home. Life is so precious and too short. Sometimes we don’t know how precious, until it is too late. I will keep Geo’s friends and family in my prayers. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  11. So sorry to hear this- and what important words about life being too short to take anything for granted.

  12. What a great reminder of how life is short and we need to live less drama filled lives and get back to the basics. Sorry to hear about Geo, thoughts go out to his family and friends.

  13. Things like that definitely make you want to stop and think. So sad to hear he passed.

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