Tuesday, August 08, 2006

my grandfather, my hero

He is one of the most passionate people you will ever meet. And because of that passion, he has never had a boring job.

Sailor. Printer. Fireman. Photographer. Preacher.

He has never had a job that didn’t consume him; a job he didn’t live for; a job about which he wasn’t borderline fanatical; a job he didn’t wear my grandmother’s ears out by talking about constantly.

He never had a job that…well, was just a job. It seems to me, if that happened…he moved on. Packed up his bags, handed the keys to guy behind him, and walked away. He could never exist just to earn a paycheck. He could never spend 45 years of his life working, so that he could retire for the last 20. No. Cause see, my grandfather figured something out: that if you find a way to get paid to do what you love, then you never have to work…and you’ll never want to retire.

Sailor. Printer. Fireman. Photographer. Preacher.

But that list of job titles is one short; the job that, at age 79, he currently holds. That job: a McDonald’s busboy (although, he calls it "Lobby Host"). Not quite as glamorous as the first five is it?

Yeah? Well, try to tell him that.

He is just as passionate about his current employment as he has been about any other job he has ever held. He picks up other people’s trash. Cleans their tables and chairs. Makes sure the ketchup dispenser is full. Sweeps the floor. Empties the trash. But more than that, he greets people as the come in. Talks to them as he wipes off tables. Laughs with them and makes them feel important. He serves them by taking up their trays and emptying them into the trash. He also jokes with and encourages the pimple-faced kids working behind the counter and at the drive-thru. Everyone loves and respects my grandfather at his McDonald’s…and technically, he is the lowest man on the totem pole.

While most people his age worked their whole lives and saved up a nice little nest egg for themselves, moved to Florida upon retirement, and are spending their remaining days walking the beach and picking up seashells. My grandfather always worked at jobs he was passionate about, provided for his family, and never worried about a “nest egg” down the road. Now, to make ends meet, he works as a McDonald’s busboy, serving and brightening the days of everyone who walks in just wanting a quick, cheap meal. And because of (not in spite of) that, he is every bit as happy, every bit as proud, and every bit as passionate as he has ever been. And also because of that…there is a McDonald’s in Bloomington, Il that looks awful lot like the Kingdom of God.

When I think of my grandfather, I don’t associate him with any of those other jobs. He’s not a sailor anymore. Nor is he a printer, a fireman or a photographer. And you know what, I don’t even think of him as a preacher, now. No. In my mind, he is a McDonald’s busboy. Cause to me…that is what makes him most like Jesus.


Sue (Mom) said...

I totally agree!!!! He's my hero too. After all......he's my Dad!

Anonymous said...

and my grandpa in law!


bill said...

hey...my mom commented. that's awesome!

Jake (not related to bill) said...

As president of the "Former Employees and Current Associates of Legendary McDonalds" (or FECAL Mac) I am proud to extend an invitation to bill's grandpa to be our newest member. Our yearly dues are extremely cheap. The secret handshake is kinda gross, but easy to learn. Welcome aboard!