Giving An Ear To History

, | Hopeless | January 15, 2017

(I’m a server at a restaurant that’s really loved by the older crowd. I get my first table of the day, and it’s an older German lady and a middle-aged lady. I’m wearing pearl and diamond earrings that I got for Hanukkah a few years ago.)

German Lady: “What beautiful earrings! They are so very elegant.”

Me: “Thank you.”

German Lady: “Where did you get them?”

Me: “I got them for Hanukkah a while back from my mom.”

(The lady smiled for a second, then looked troubled.)

German Lady: “I am so sorry.”

(I assume she meant she was sorry for asking about something personal, but I get asked about my religion a lot, and I certainly wasn’t offended by it.)

Me: “Oh, ma’am, it’s no problem. Don’t worry.”

German Lady: “No, you don’t understand. I’m sorry for what my country did to your people.”

(I just stood there, shocked, not knowing what to say, because this honestly had never happened.)

Me: “It’s okay. You don’t have to apologize.”

German Lady: “I want to. Because you see, I was a kid when the Holocaust happened.”

(She went on to tell me what it had been like, how people were scared to speak up, if they even knew what was happening. She talked about when the American soldiers came in, and how nice they had been. She said one soldier even gave her her first stick of bubblegum! By the end of the conversation, I was tearing up. We hugged and she demanded I take a $20 tip from her. She promised to come back soon and tell me more if I wanted to hear. I can’t wait to see her again!)

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