Have you ever had a favourite item just up and disappear, be it food, a hygiene product, a go-to make-up tube, a handy kitchen tool, name-brand underwear/socks, etc.? I have had many beloved things leave my repertoire over the years, as old becomes new, formulas get changed, products get replaced or taken off of the shelf altogether, something moves and so on.
In one of our most recent ‘MIA’ examples, my husband and I were disappointed to learn that our revered sandwich shop had closed over the summer. Sure there were other franchises bearing the same name, but none compared to the one that had shut down. We felt weirdly betrayed in that there was no notice (that we knew of anyway), no mention of re-locating–just a nailed-in space where the famous deli board and table spaces once were. We were aware that the mall that the shop was located in was undergoing renovations and had been for quite some time, but we had no idea that our sandwich place would be affected. After the initial ‘shock’ wore off (our modern-day sense of entitlement) we took some solace in that we figured that it would just be a matter of time before it was back up and running post-renos; however, when we looked online for more information, it said that it was permanently closed. ‘Permanently closed? No way!!! What were we to do?’ Life would not be the same, as it had become a tradition for me to pick up fresh sandwiches for lunch/supper after my haircut at the nearby salon. Hmmm….
On a whim last month, after eating at one of the other sub-par locations, my husband and I checked online to see if anything else had come of the shut-down locale. Sure enough, to our utter surprise and delight, it was announced that a new food court had opened in another part of the shopping complex and that our sandwich shop was there! “Yay,” we both beamed to each other. And so yesterday, after my haircut, I excitedly hopped on the escalator and rode it up to the third floor wherein I immediately recognized the infamous green and white kiosk as well as the familiar faces of the two ladies who had always seemed to be working there. As I walked up to the order line, it was clear that the two employees also recognized me as they enthusiastically said hello and greeted me with a smile. “This is the best location ever and I was worried that you guys were gone for good, ” I declared. “We are happy to see you too, ” they replied. Swiftly, they swung into action taking my same ol’ order and putting together our tasty Club sandwiches for the road. I asked if they had managed to stay employed during the closure and they had each said ‘yes’, which was good to hear. In that moment, it occurred to me that even though the ladies and I had never exchanged names or anything else but niceties and sandwich orders, they were important to me, and I was genuinely glad to see them (and my to-go bag—not going to lie about that one). I had complimented them on many an occasion in the past on the good job that they did, but somehow yesterday, what they did seemed more profound. Not only did they serve up ‘good eats’, they also managed to make ordering take-out food a personalized, pleasant experience from start to finish.
After eating half of my sandwich at the food court (I couldn’t wait to get home), I decided that I needed to do something else to show them just how much we appreciated having them back in business. So, I headed to a popular coffee franchise, purchased two five-dollar gift cards, and proceeded back to the third-floor kiosk to wish them each a ‘Happy New Year’ again and thank them for being them. While we didn’t officially ‘break bread’ together in a traditional way, it kind of felt like we had in some strange sense and for that I am grateful. I went into the mall feeling more than Hopeful about being able to partake in our yummy sandwich tradition again, and left feeling like the New Year was already off to a fantastic start:-).