Why do I do what I do?
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Written by Gerry Nooney
|Why do you do what you do, Gerry? Good question. Years ago I took a job as the chef at a fancy restaurant. When my mother learned of my new position, she said to my brother Ben, "That's nice, but when is Gerry going to get a real job?" Ben replied that I owned my own house, had a car and a loving family. That still wasn't what my mom was looking for, and sure, I missed many family gatherings, holidays and special events. But normal is what you're used to. I'm the underachiever when it comes to my five siblings. I am the baby after all. There is a collection of masters degrees, doctorates, CEO's, valedictorians and company founders in my lineage. Don't get me wrong - I'm confident and proud of my accomplishments. My mother also told me I wasn't smart enough to know any better and would go through life happy. She was as right as rain on that one. Happy should be my middle name: Gerry Happy Nooney.
So back to my question, why do I do what I do? Here's just one of the many reasons I love the hospitality industry. Our son is a combat solider, a leader of men. He has been deployed three times, two of them under very dangerous circumstances. Each time our son was away, his deployment fell over the holiday season. My wife Eileen and I love to celebrate Christmas. We decorate to the nines and even set up multiple holiday trees. We decided to throw a big party and surround ourselves with our friends during these difficult times. We invited everyone and never did the math on how many would fit. Our house was a rugby scrum, packed with friends and family. In preparation for our party, we asked our neighbor if we could use the parking lot of their business. Every parking spot mattered. They said yes, with no questions asked. They also plowed out their entire parking lot for us (they used little of it in the winter and had no need to maintain the whole thing). A kind gesture.
A few Mondays ago, those same neighbors came in to Rumble's Kitchen at the height of our business. We were jumping, with no available tables. It could be considered a long walk up from the parking lot to the restaurant, especially for our more mature clientele, and I was not about to turn them away. I looked at our manager, Margo, and said we have to get them a table. She could see this was important to me. She pulled out a table from nowhere, set up a couple of seats and made them feel at home. They had a lovely dinner and we talked about my dog, grandchildren and a variety of other neighborly things. Mostly I felt like I got my chance to say thanks for the kindness they showed years ago when we needed it most.
Why do I do what I do? Moments like that.