Restaurant went extra mile for parents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Thank you, Andalusia, and Big Mike’s.
Although I am not from Andalusia, I owe your fine city and Big Mike’s Steakhouse a HUGE thank you!

Thank you for making my parents’ 59th wedding anniversary so much fun and perfect! Because their anniversary is two days before Christmas, it is often difficult for us to all get together and celebrate. However, I always remember them taking time out of the holiday turmoil to stop and celebrate their special day. This year proved to be no exception; however, because of Big Mike’s Steakhouse, this year’s celebration proved to be extraordinary.
Before I could pull together a celebration dinner, my parents announced that they would be traveling from our hometown of Greenville, Ala., to Andalusia to try out the new steakhouse. I was a bit sad because neither my sister nor I could work that into our hectic holiday schedule.

While I was discussing this with my husband, he suggested that we call Big Mike’s and pay for their dinner. When I called I got the nicest lady who was obviously busy – yet willing to help! As the conversation progressed, I suddenly realized that I was asking this sweet person to accomplish the impossible. Not only had I neglected to factor in the enormous holiday crowd, but as we talked I realized that it was going to be very difficult for her to know which patrons were my parents.
Finally, I apologized for putting the hostess in such an awkward situation, to which she replied, “NO! Let’s try to make this work. After all…59 years of marriage is quite an accomplishment!” Agreeing with her, I simply described them as a very young looking 81 and 83-years-old couple, gave her their last name, told her that they are from Greenville, and gave her my number.
What transpired next made our holidays bright! Being one of the first to arrive at the crowded restaurant, my parents were perplexed when the hostess said, “Are you the Newtons from Greenville?” Laughingly my dad replied, “Yes, but how did you know that?” Not giving away her source, the hostess simply replied, “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!’ At this point my parents were speechless and kept looking around the restaurant to see who they might know in there who would know it was their anniversary. Finding no familiar faces, they ordered and ate as they said, “…the best steak ever and more food than we could eat!” As the meal came to a close (and still reeling over how the hostess knew it was their anniversary) my dad asked for the bill. The server nicely stated, “No sir…you meal has been paid for!” Now my dad is a man who believes firmly in paying his part (and then some) so he certainly had to question this. Finally, the server and hostess cheerfully replied, “Happy anniversary from your daughter!” What a fun ride home they had calling me and telling me all about their surprise dinner!
Thank you again to the sweet hostess and server for helping me accomplish this. Thank you for truly showing the Christmas Spirit. Thank you for insisting that we try to make this work – even though you were very busy. Thank you BIG MIKE’s for hiring caring people. And, thank you Andalusia for securing this restaurant in your lovely town.
I look forward to traveling down there to see first-hand just how wonderful it is.
Bess Newton Nordgren
Greenville, Alabama