By in Personal

Said goodbye to a man with no family tonight

My family and I have been going to the same Denny's restaurant for many, many years. We always had a waiter named John. He was very nice, competent and always went above and beyond what was necessary. As the years passed, my kids got to know him and then my sisters' kids did and even one sister's grandkids knew John. We would always gather there on Halloween night in the back room and John would manage to deal with sugared up kids running around, several families who all wanted separate checks and to swap this for that and have extra ice and whatever we wanted. He never lost patience. He actually enjoyed the gatherings.

As time passed, he would sit with us when it was slow and chat. We didn't know a lot about him but we did know he wasn't married, loved cats and had a side job as a private investigator. Interesting. As he aged, he never slowed down. He would run around that place taking care of three times the amount of tables as the young waiters and waitresses. After 35 years of devotion, he was unceremoniously fired - supposedly because someone complained about him. I believe the other waiters and waitresses were jealous because everyone wanted to have John as their waiter.

That was two years ago. Last month, we learned that John died. We knew nothing else. We tried to get details but no one knew anything. Eventually we learned that he died suddenly in his home and the police were looking for his sister in California. Weeks passed and we heard nothing. Then we saw an obituary. All his family members were dead. He was going to have a wake and funeral but it didn't say who was hosting it.

My sisters and I went tonight. It was beautiful little service. There was just one picture of John. One picture from all 71 years of his life. The funeral home had donated its services. Apparently one of the owners knew John well. The casket was for show. He was cremated. We heard lots of stories but not what caused his death. We also don't know who will go through his things and what will happen to them. His cats were taken to a shelter where I hope they were adopted.

Tonight I said goodbye to John the waiter. Lots of others did too. He would have loved to have been there. He probably would have been running around trying to wait on people, bring them drinks, seat them... He loved people and people loved him yet he died alone. I hope he didn't die lonely.

Wherever John is - and I hope he is in heaven - he is at peace and probably still waiting tables as he did for 35 years. He was a special guy and I'm glad he was remembered with a service and a gathering of people who really liked him. May he rest in peace until we meet again.


| | | |#pattytherre | |#goodbye |#loss

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Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:15 PM

John's unjust termination must have been a severe blow to him. It was generous of the funeral home to donate the service for John's farewell. There is something so inherently sad about a truly solitary person.

inertia4 wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:01 PM

PattyTherre That is a sad story. I cannot believe they fired him. Wow. Thats horrible to do that to an old man. And from what I read, such a wonderful old man. At least you go to pay your respects to him at his wake. I am sure many like you showed up there. It is sad when someone like that dies and there is no family left.

SoundNFury wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:29 PM

Poignant story. It's a shame for him to die alone, but like you said hopefully he wasn't lonely.

nbaquero wrote on January 6, 2015, 11:33 PM

PattyTherre May he rest in peace. I don't find a justification for firing such a wonderful man.

BodieMor wrote on January 7, 2015, 12:35 AM

This man was blessed in life to have had people like you and your family value and honor him.

LoneRanger wrote on January 7, 2015, 2:24 AM

Very moving post indeed – sometimes we attach people to our lives that are insignificant to us otherwise. But suddenly realize, when they are gone, that they had become a part of our lives. Good of you to keep a track and attend his final service.

MegL wrote on January 7, 2015, 3:07 AM

How sad, yet it was great you were able to go to his funeral.

catsholiday wrote on January 7, 2015, 6:44 AM

That is very sad - poor man as he sounds so nice, sad he is was alone towards the end and hope the cats get a nice home too

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 7, 2015, 10:02 AM

That is sad to hear. He sounds like a wonderful man. Glad he was able to get a proper funeral.

LisaSteinmetz wrote on January 7, 2015, 7:52 PM

I'm sure he's up in Heaven with his family telling them about some of the funny things he's experienced, both as a waiter and a PI. I don't believe he was really lonely as he had his fur babies with him. :)

BarbRad wrote on January 7, 2015, 9:17 PM

That's such a sad story. But I'm glad there was a way to say your goodbye at the end. Too bad he wasn't alive to hear it.

celticeagle wrote on January 7, 2015, 9:46 PM

What a nice tribute. He sounds like a special person.

alexdg1 wrote on January 9, 2015, 3:19 PM

How sad. Good article, Patty!

shaggin83 wrote on January 20, 2015, 1:04 PM

Aww what a beautiful article you shared with us. That is so sad that he was fired so wrongly after all those years he put in and his devotion to his job. Sounds like a very wonderful man that the world has lost.