This week, a dream of mine came true: I went to the opera. The Lyric Opera of Chicago performed a dress rehearsal of Massenet’s Cendrillon that I was beyond excited to attend. It was really everything I had hoped for. Beautiful music, stunning visuals, wonderful voices. It was such a memorable experience.
But the backstory of how I came to have the tickets was just as much of a thrill for me.
One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I get to work with people (which may also be the reason why there are times that my job is not so fun either, but that’s a subject for a different day…). One evening, two senior couples came into the restaurant and sat in one of my booths. It was my last table of the evening, and I started chatting with them. They told me they had just come from the opera. I exclaimed, “How fun!” and asked what they had seen. They responded that it was Sigfreid and when I commented on the length of that opera, they told me it had lasted five hours. Wow!
In the midst of getting them bread, water and a bottle of wine, I chatted with them about how I had never attended an opera, but had long wanted to. I shared how, as a teen, I had gone to a backstage tour of the Lyric Opera with my family. They talked a bit about their experience as well. It was a fun conversation. I enjoy connecting with people, however briefly, about a shared interest.
One of the times I was at the table, one of the gentlemen unexpectedly asked me how I would like to see Cinderella at the Lyric Opera for the dress rehearsal in three weeks! He offered four tickets in exchange for excellent dinner service. The other folks at the table were all nodding and smiling. The gentleman continued that they would love to promote an appreciation of the opera, and would like to give the tickets to me if I would be able to use them. Well, I was practically speechless! I definitely couldn’t see straight I was so thrilled.
I tried to contain my excitement, and told them I would have to see if I could make babysitting arrangements before I could accept them. If I couldn’t use them, there was no use in saying yes, as disappointing as that would be… He gave me his email address and I told him I would let him know either way. The four of them proceeded to enjoy their dinner.
As I left the restaurant that evening, I called my sister squealing excitedly into the phone: “We’re going to the opera!!!” Needless to say, I was able to make arrangements for the littles and the tickets were promptly emailed to me with the note that he “hoped this was one of the more innovative tips you’ve ever received.” I should say it was!
The whole thing was a thrill from beginning to end. We even decided to take Strawberry, which was quite the occasion for her. I love that from a simple chance connection, my family and I had were able to have a wonderful experience that we will always remember. And while I’ll never see that couple again, I will always remember their thoughtfulness and generosity. What a blessing there is in community.