“Is there a dentist in your family?”
The sommelier smiled as he stood before our table. It was an unusual question from a stranger, but his smile and demeanor were disarming and I answered him.
“Yes...several. My wife is a dentist. My father was a dentist and I have two cousins who are dentists. Why do you ask?”
“Was your father George Shitabata?”
I returned his smile. “Yes, he was. Did you know him?”
“Your father was my dentist when I was growing up. In fact, he took care of my parents and grandparents!”
It was a Las Vegas restaurant and our family was celebrating Christmas eve with a dinner. The service was impeccable as we enjoyed the festive occasion and dined on the delectable dishes. The sommelier had noticed my last name on the reservation list and wondered if there was a relation to his childhood dentist.
“Your father was very important to me,” he continued. “He always looked out for me and my family. He told me the truth, didn’t mince words. He was one of a kind.”
My heart warmed over as I listened, beamed, and nodded in appreciation. I introduced my family and then shared with him that my father passed away last year. We exchanged emails but not before he made sure we enjoyed a complimentary serving of four of the restaurant’s signature desserts.
It was a bittersweet moment. We appreciated the kind words and generosity of my father’s former patient. But it brought back the pain of his sudden passing. My eyes welled up as I raised my glass and toasted my father. “Thanks Dad. We miss you.”
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
The Golden Rule.
My father never quoted this but he certainly lived his life by it. My father’s kindness and influence still touches people, whether in Hawaii, or thousands of miles away in Las Vegas. I look forward to meeting others who have equally fond memories of him. And I continue to honor his life by making sure I take his best qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness, and honesty and treat others I meet with the same compassion.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.