All right, this one may seem a bit odd. But you're used to that by now from me?
It was a magic moment, and though this may come across sounding silly, this is a true story, and it did mean a lot to me.
It all happened at the Giant Pizza King place on Federal Boulevard in Lemon Grove. It was here, I found true love.
No, it wasn't the pizza, though I do love this place's pizza. And no this isn't a romantic tale. It's the story of a moment rarely found in this day and age of fast-food, fast-paced, careless crazy inconsideration.
I think many of us are dead to the truth that deep down all of us do care about each other, with a brotherly and sisterly love. For, many of these feelings and realities exist way below the surface, unknown to the conscious and incapacitated mind. Such moments of recollection have to rush up quickly and in the moment; it's the only place you can glimpse beyond the illusion of the separate world in which we coexist.
So here's how it went down. It was halftime of the Monday Night Football game. I went down the hill to get a large pizza. It was "take out." I entered the pizza joint, paid my bill, then picked up the pizza box. The gent there had walked away from the counter, as I walked the other direction. Noticing I had accidentally knocked his receipt book on the ground, I leaned down to pick up that book, and just so happened to make a bit of a noise. At that moment, unknowing what was happening with me and apparently believing I may have hurt myself, the gentleman looked over with wide open eyes and a concerned look, asking "Are you ok?"
I will always remember his face.
It was filled with true care and consideration. It rushed up onto his face, before he had the chance to think. And that is the key. The true face must exist beyond all thoughts. Was this man concerned for his own self? Was he filled with thoughts that were self-serving, such as "oh no, I hope this doesn't mean I will have to fork out insurance for this man's injury" or "oh no, his injury will preclude him from paying the bill?"
No. I had already paid the bill.
His concern wasn't about him. It was about me. It was about another human being, another person whose well-being could matter as much as one's own. Such a care must come in the moment, IN A FLASH, where the care for another goes beyond some selfish thought, generated by ego.
Yes, I saw it. You can't take it away from me. Sure, it is a silly story about a pizza and a receipt book and an errant noise signifying nothing of importance. But the look in the eyes - of unity, connection and mutual care - will always reside with me. And for this I am grateful.
Thank you Giant Pizza King: for the look of care, the large black olive and mushroom pizza, and a reminder of a unity that will always be cherished.
Jim Ellis is a writer, producer and pizza fan who can be reached at LegacyProductions.org.