The Lottery Ticket

 Twenty-five years ago I was starting off my restaurant career as a waiter in an upscale Steak House.  I was going to culinary school by day and was paying my dues at night in hopes of one day becoming a chef.  One night, a beautiful young lady and a disheveled young man were eating at one of my tables.  The two did not look like they belonged together, but who was I too judge.  They both had full meals and a bottle of decent wine and racked up a sizable bill.  I was happy because I was having a good night in tips.  The couple had just finished their deserts and I was coming back to the table to see if they wanted more coffee.  To my surprise they were gone.  I had already presented them with their bill.  The leather bound bill holder was on the table and I could see cash protruding from it.  I assumed they were just in a hurry.  I picked up the bill holder and headed to the cashier's station.  When I arrived and opened it I saw the cash as well as a note.

   The bill was for $102.75 and there was $103.00 in cash.  My anger was rising.  I unfolded the note and a lottery ticket fell out.  The note read, "I am so sorry I could not leave you a proper tip.  I have been saving up for a couple of weeks to take this girl out and impress her.  Please take this lottery ticket as a good gesture.  Someday I will repay you."  It was signed, "Charlie."  I was pretty mad, but what could I do.  I stuffed the lottery ticket in my pocket and went on with my shift.

   A few days went by and I was doing my laundry.  I found the lottery ticket.  The drawing had been the day before.  I thought what the hell...I'll check the numbers.  I grabbed the newspaper from the day before and found the section with the lotto numbers.  I almost shit myself.  I checked the numbers 10 times...all 6 matched.  I double checked the date in the paper and on the ticket...they matched.  I couldn't breathe.  I didn't sleep all night.  As soon as morning came, I called the lottery office.  They confirmed I had a winning ticket.  I won 3 million dollars.  I was in disbelief. 

   Even after I got the money, I still didn't think it was true.  It took several months for it to sink in.  Then I had a plan.  I would quit my job, finish culinary school, and open my own restaurant.  That's what I did.  I did everything right and after 5 years I had one of the hottest, upscale joints on the strip.  Recently, one of the local newspapers did a story on me and my fortuitous success.  Last week I received a call from Charlie. 

   He said he had read about me in the paper and wondered if I was the waiter from that night 25 years ago.  I confirmed his suspicions.  He congratulated me and told me he too was successful.  More importantly, he told me the girl he brought to the restaurant that night long ago was now his wife.  They had been married for over 20 years and had several children.  Charlie said, "That night was quite lucky for both of us!"  I agreed and told him they should come to my restaurant for another night of dining.  He said, "Perfect.  Next week is our anniversary.  How about Thursday?"  I said, "I'll have the best table in the house for you."

   The night arrived and I pulled out all the stops for the couple that had brought me such good fortune.  At the end of their evening, I went over to the table and thanked them and told them the dinner was on the house.  They thanked me and said the meal was terrific.  On their way out, Charlie handed me an envelope.  They then went out the door into the darkness.  I opened the envelope on the way back to the kitchen.  Inside was a note, another lottery ticket, and $200 in cash.  The note read, "Here is your tip for tonight and from 25 years ago.  I hope the lottery ticket is lucky again.  Thanks for everything, Charlie."  I had a tear in my eye.  For a moment, I had a bit of remorse for poisoning their dinners with enough arsenic to kill a horse.  Then I thought, "Fuck'em!  That's what he gets for stiffing me on my tip."




Uploaded 10/24/2009
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