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.