Panera Bread Café is the kind of place you can go to have a good meal or snack, read/study/work, and stay on for refills on coffee or whatever you’re drinking. You can count on someone watching your stuff when you take a restroom or drink-refill break, the staff is friendly and helpful, the cafés have free wi-fi, and it smells fabulous in there.
What’s not to love?
Our local Panera is just as warm and inviting as any location I’ve visited. Between work sessions, gabfests with friends, and writing-related meetings, I go there quite a bit. For me it’s become a sort of haven — a home-away-from-home.
So back in April, when Brent landed in the hospital unexpectedly, I took myself to breakfast there the next morning. I needed some space to decompress, but didn’t exactly want to be alone. Or more accurately, I didn’t want to be home with all those little chores calling my name.
Over the months I had especially bonded with one staff member, a sweet lady named Sandra. She always encourages guests with her genuine caring, and I like the way she closes transactions by saying, “Have a blessed day.”
Well, this one morning I decided my day needed more than just a generic blessing. So after breakfast and some reading time, I waited until Sandra had a free moment, then went over to speak with her.
I told her my husband had to go into the hospital the night before, nothing very serious, but would she pray for him some time, if she thought of it.
That wasn’t good enough for Sandra. She took my hand and said, “Honey, if someone asks for prayer, I don’t let them leave without it.” Right then she lifted up Brent and me both, asking for strength and healing.
It took less than a minute. But what a difference it made for me. Now I had not only received physical fuel (really–try the breakfast soufflés), but also spiritual food that offered an even better boost than the coffee.
In fact, I actually did have a blessed day. Thank you, Sandra, for sharing the load with me.
What about you? Have you ever had someone go out of their way to encourage you? Are you one of those people who look for ways to encourage others? It could make their day, more than you might think.
Thanks for reading,