Our Staff Serves More Than Just Good Food

“Oh no, Cowboy!” I was upstairs in a meeting when I heard this exclamation from down in the cafe. It sounded urgent, purposeful, and a little scared.  I peeked over the balcony and saw Josh holding Cowboy tight. Cowboy was seizing, his eyes closed, and his body rigid. Josh immediately called 911, his words loud in a cafe hushed with worry.

When Josh got off the phone, Cowboy woke up and gave Josh the biggest hug I’ve ever seen. It was pure, knowing, like two friends who’d known each other since childhood. Watching the two of them, you could see they were more than just a guy who needed help and a guy who came to help him: they were people who cared about each other, who needed each other, who had opened up their lives to one another.

Cowboy is now as good as new, and back volunteering at the cafe. And as I’ve processed that day, what I’ve felt the most is gratitude for our staff who understand that hospitality means more than just a warm greeting, a refilled glass, and a beautiful meal. They get that, at its core, hospitality means vulnerability.

Daniel Homan, in Radical Hospitality, says it best: “Hospitality demands that you let the people you are serving into your heart. Only in opening yourself wide to another are you transformed by the power of love.”

There are a few things holding me together these days. Google Calendar and coffee get a lot of the credit. But what’s really feeding my soul is our incredible staff, who show radical hospitality to everyone who enters the cafe, including me.

Josh, Andrew, Karma, Alyson, Usha, Evan, Aaron, Alaric, and Megan make A Place at the Table what it is. They not only bring out incredible food, coffee, and service, but they love our people. Ever since day one, they have been deliberate about knowing people by name, remembering birthdays and high school graduations, and taking a moment to chat, even when things are busy. They worry about our community volunteers when we haven’t seen them in a few days and welcome them back with a hug even if it has only been half a day since they’ve had a meal at the cafe.

Our terrific team serves  meals each day to people who need food. And that is incredible. But it’s the way they serve that makes Table what it is: they open their hearts and love all the Maggies, Cowboys, and Joshs of the world, no matter what.  With that transformational love, they are making sure that each of us have a place at their table every single day. And dang--I am glad to share a table with them.

Maggie Kane