When One of Your Regulars Dies

Sad-manI arrive to work and the first thing my manager tells me is, “Did you hear that Morgan died?”

“Who’s Morgan?” I ask.

“The man who comes in all the time with his wife.”

“Which one?”

“The Irish guy.”

Which Irish guy?” (My neighborhood is full of ‘Irish guys.”)

“Him and his wife were here on Christmas Eve and she got mad at you for asking them to leave, remember?”

I do remember. That was the night he first introduced himself to me after being his server for many years. He was very nice, as opposed to his wife who got upset with me that night when I let them know that we had been closed for thirty minutes and I wanted to be home to enjoy my Christmas Eve dinner. In all fairness, they had paid their check 40 minutes earlier, they were the only ones in the restaurant for over an hour and she knew we were closing early that night. I think about how frustrated I was at her that night and now I feel nothing but sadness for her because she lost her husband of 30 years.

The bartender hears the news and is as shocked as I am. “He was just here last Sunday and he introduced himself to me. He shook my hand and told me ‘thank you for your service and thank you for your friendship.’ I can’t believe he’s gone.”

I saw Morgan two weeks earlier when he came in alone as he was wont to do. His wife joined him a bit later and it was the first time I had seen her since our awkward Christmas Eve conversation. Everything was fine that night and we went back to the relationship we had had for so many years before. This night, as I stand at work and watch customer after customer sit at Table 7, it makes me sad to know that I will never see him sit there in his usual spot.

According to his obituary, Morgan was only 59 years old. He had just retired in November to pursue his lifelong dream of writing screenplays, a passion he had always held, but put on the back burner as every day life took over. He was only ten years older than me and he was just finally getting around to working on his dream. And now it’s too late for him. Morgan always left me a very good tip, but now he has left me with something much, much better: a reminder to make every day count. His obituary quotes him as saying, “The great thing about living is living. Maximize every day.” That is what I want to take away from my time with this regular. I want to remember that every day is precious and that we should use every moment of our lives to pursue what makes us happy. Morgan never seemed unhappy, even when his wife was upset with me for wanting to enjoy my Christmas Eve. By all accounts, he was a happy person. But knowing that he didn’t get to become the successful screenwriter that he always wanted to become makes me want to try even harder to make my dreams come true. We should all learn this lesson from Morgan. We need to recognize that we are not guaranteed a “tomorrow” and by putting off our dreams, we might never get the chance to make them happen. That doesn’t mean you won’t be happy, but in my final hours I want to know that I died trying.

Thank you for the tip, Morgan. Rest in peace. You will be missed.

14 thoughts on “When One of Your Regulars Dies

  1. Sin4salvation

    Lovely entry. I’ve lost some regulars over the years, and you definitely miss them.

    Morgan is right, pursue your dreams. Everyday life is reason enough to be happy as well – simple pleasures such as dinner with your wife, can also keep you going happily when you’re working towards those dreams.

  2. karen

    We lost a friend (he was a “regular”, but also a friend) of 10+ years. Leroy was the first person to come into the diner in August 2005. We were remodeling the diner, at the time. He was eager for a nice place with good coffee. He would be in the parking lot, before we opened, everyday. We, eventually, told him he could come in early while the chef was setting up for the day. We taught him how to turn on the lights and make coffee, in case he was there before a manager or server arrived. He always was sweet, complimentary and we became close to his entire family. For those of you who think your servers, restaurant workers, bartender and management don’t love and appreciate you…you are wrong. I will forever miss Leroy

  3. Gretchen

    I think a lot of servers know people by what they drink/eat. Gin&tonic with no ice guy. Although after 40 years in F&B and everything that goes with it, my memory isn’t great for names..;)

    1. Sarah Hedrick

      crazy salad lady, crazy mahi lady, martini club soda guy.

      Can confirm I have a million of these and can instantly clearly recall every detail about the person with just the moniker.

  4. Alison

    I work at an older clientele establishment serving. We lose regulars on a rather frequent basis and is always so sad, but recently I lost a rather frequent younger gentleman that I absolutely adored. My last conversation with him rang so clear for the next few days. He sat in a seat facing the setting sun and the sky was just so beautiful. He said to me, this is why I moved here. See that? It’s just so wonderful. A week later, he was dead of an aneurism. So young, 59, so sudden. I still look for his car, but then remember. 😢

  5. Kelly

    One of my regulars passed away. I found out by his wife. She as with a big party, it ended up being a wake for Mr. Smith. I saw them every Friday. They were super cool. I attended his funeral. I learned all his awesome stuff about. The best was had met Einstien when he was in college.

  6. Brenda Durall

    I had a group of older gentlemen who called themselves, “The Knights of the Round Table”. They came every Friday, sitting at our round table that was semi-private. The table had 8 chairs, but they somehow managed to get an average of 16 men at the table. I took care of them for years. As they moved to Heaven, my heart would break a little more. My original Knights are all in Heaven now. They brought an amazing amount of joy to my life. They taught me things, and I taught them things. I miss them all so much. I picture them in Heaven, having their Friday discussions on fixing the world. My regulars were like family to me. What a great job I had!

  7. Amy

    Oh, this hits close with me, we lost my regular Jean a few weeks ago. I drive by her car wash she owned every morning on my way to work. She had been in on a Sunday for breakfast and passed away that next day…..It’s sad I miss her. Rest in peace my friend!

  8. CincyDrunk

    My first job was serving at an upscale retirement home. I experienced death a lot between the ages of 15-18. I will never forget my favorite couple, Mr. and Mrs. Newman.

    They always made me smile. Mr. Newman always had jokes, and Mrs. Newman was the sweetest, most kind-hearted human being I have ever met.

    Mr. Newman died a day before my 19th birthday. (or that’s at least when I found out. It’s been ten years, my memory is foggy. I was no longer working there. My now ex was still the sous chef.) His funeral was the day after my birthday. This I know to be fact.

    Now ex didn’t wake us up the morning of his funeral. There is little I regret more in my life than not making it to say my final goodbye and give his sweet wife a hug. I’m sad now. Here’s to you, Mr. and Mrs. Newman.

  9. Amber

    One of my regulars just passed away as well. I waited on her and her son. They left at about 8 pm and by 11 pm, she had passed away. She had gotten trapped inside a house fire. I had even saw all the emergency vehicles flying down the road, but didn’t find out about it until I went into work the next morning. She was a very sweet lady.

  10. Mary Cesena

    My favorite person when I was serving we called the Jewerly Lady. Years later her name changed to My Mary. She was there every Friday to sit in my section throughout my whole pregnancy, with a gift each week for the baby, costume jewerly for me, and always a nice tip. She passed away right before my baby turned 2. She was my favorite, Mary and Sal was her and her husbands name, as well as mine and my husbands name. RIP My Mary


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