Get comfy. First of all, I want to say Thank You! to all of my readers, lurkers, and re-clickers who have helped make this site as successful and long-lasting as it is. I don't have one of those Uber-blogs like Rachel Lucas or Instapundit, but I have respectable traffic--I'm up to over 700 hits per day, and my Sitemeter stats tell me that it's not just people I'm related to. So thank you all very much for sticking with me all these years.
But I want to talk about something that's been weighing heavily on my mind for awhile, and today it came to the forefront. I need a favor, or two.
You all know about Marcie, my waitress at the Omelet House who I have a small crush on, right? (Those of you who don't, well, just start reading from the middle of December onwards to catch up--we'll wait).
Anyhow, over the past couple of months we've become friends and she's opened up to me quite a bit lately. I've known that she was in a miserable relationship for awhile and looking for a way out, but I didn't know how bad things were for her. Until today.
Normally, I don't go to the Omelet House on the weekends because it's so damn crowded and I don't want to have to sit around and wait for a table, and then, once I finally *do* get a seat, Marcie is way too busy to come around and visit. And I certainly don't want to take money out of her pocket by monopolizing her time.
But last night after work, I completely skipped out on getting some food on the way home. I knew I'd be hungry when I got up this morning, and mentioned that I'd probably go back down there to the O-House and have lunch once I got up. And regardless of how busy it was in the restaurant, seeing her for just a moment is much better than not seeing her at all, right?
When I got there, it was a complete zoo, just as I feared. When I walked in, her section was all booths on the front side, and completely full, and they put me in the back room at a table completely on the opposite side of the restaurant from her. For a minute, I thought about bailing out, but I *was* hungry, so I sat there sipping on my Coke that the hostess brought me and started reading my book. About five minutes passed and I realized that nobody was coming to take my order. I looked around, and one of the waiters came over and said Hey, Marcie said to tell you that she'll be over in just a minute.
Very nice--they all know that she's 'my' waitress, so she was able to pick up my table, even though it was hell and gone from her normal section.
She came by a few minutes later and gave me a hug, but I could tell there was something wrong. She's always got a wonderful smile, but her eyes looked like they'd been crying.
I asked her if she was ok, and she told me that she wasn't. She ran back to take care of her other customers, but once all of her other tables got their food, she had a lull and came back to talk to me.
So here's the story, in a nutshell, and I have her permission to share it.
She's been in a bad relationship for about a year. In fact, it's an abusive relationship--I'll spare the details, but trust me when I say it's an awful situation. And she's been trying to get out of it for some time. But that's easier said than done. She lives with the guy, for now, and she has a couple of kids. And her work situation is a lot like mine--she lives on part-time tip income only. She has no benefits, the kids have no insurance, but she was getting by because of a two-income household.
But things got so bad that she finally broke it off this week, and since it's his house, he's throwing her and the kids out at the end of the month, and trying to make things difficult for her.
She has nowhere to go. But here's the thing--back when they first got together, he convinced her to break her lease at her old apartment and to move in with him, and adding a degree of difficulty into the equation, that went to collections with a bunch of fees added on, which she can't afford, and he has refused to pay. Not only that, but he's also been stealing money from her, so much so that she's resorted leaving her tips locked in her car at night. It goes on and on, but you get the idea...
So finding a new place has proved especially difficult for her because most apartments won't rent to her now. And her income is 'unprovable', plus it's not that great anyways. I know it sounds a lot like a white-trash soap opera from Alabama, but that's not the case at all. She's not a smoker, a drinker (he's an alcoholic, though), or a welfare queen. She has all of her teeth, she's well spoken, attractive, and just an all-around nice girl. She's just in a shiatty situation, and as a single mother with two kids in a crappy economy, she just doesn't have a lot of options. She has no family around to lean on, either.
And listening to her today just damn near broke my heart.
But she's doing all she can--she's been spending all of her free time looking for a new place and applying for second jobs. She hasn't asked for anything except for somebody to listen. She's never asked me for money or anything like that, all she's ever wanted is a little emotional support.
Of course, because I have a soft spot for her, all of this weighs heavily on my mind. I wish I could do more. I mean, I overtip her significantly whenever I see her, but that only covers her daily stiffs. I told her that I'll do whatever I can--help her move, help her find another job, help her get settled in a new place, give her my time and let her use my truck. If I were a man of means, she wouldn't have the sleepless nights. But I'm not a man of means--I just don't have the resources to help her get over this seemingly insurmountable hump. Her life is extremely difficult right now, and she doesn't have anywhere to turn.
And yeah, I readily admit, I have a bit of a thing for her. But beyond that, I think this situation goes back to my whole 'cracked eggs' theory I wrote about a couple of weeks ago--sometimes people cross paths for a reason, and well, here we are. There is some sort of cosmic significance to this situation, I'm convinced. And I've volunteered to do all I can for her, even if it means that all I ever get from her is a 'Thank you' and a peck on the cheek. I'm not looking for anything in return.
But I do have one valuable resource at my disposal--my website and my readers.
I know it's a lot to ask, but it's not for me--it's for somebody I care about deeply. I've set up a PayPal account if anyone would like to donate to her. The link is at the top of the page. Every dime that goes in there will go directly to her--you have my word on that. And if somebody wishes to donate, but doesn't want to go through PayPal, you can email me directly and I'll give you a mailing address where you can mail a check (made out to her).
I thought about this all afternoon, and I just got off the phone with her--she gave me her blessing, putting the details of her life out here for everyone to read, in the hope that a few pennies from heaven fall in her direction. And I put my money where my mouth is--before I left the restaurant this afternoon, I dug into the wallet and gave her the hundred-dollar bill that I have tucked away for emergencies, and insisted that she take it. I'll do all that I can, but I need your help. Actually, Marcie needs your help.
Anyhow, that's the situation. I remember how I've benefited in the past when things went south for me, and Dougie stepped up and organized a 'Save Mikey' fund about four years ago. I'll never forget that. So I'm doing the same thing for Marcie. She's a nice gal and she really means a lot to me, and I hate to see her crying--it just rips my guts out.
Thank you all very much.
PS I'm going to leave this post up at the top all weekend and through Monday--I get most of my traffic on Mondays, so I want to make sure everyone sees it. I'll post new, happier material again on Tuesday.
**Updated Sunday 2/22 @ 7:35 PM**
Hey Gang-- I want to first of all say Thank You all so much for the support and notes of encouragement received so far. The response and generosity we've received has been unbelievable.
I just got back from having dinner with Marcie and her two wonderful kids, and we had a great time. When I told her how much money has been donated so far, she couldn't help but get a little emotional. She was blown away by the kindness of strangers--people who would think of her and help out. But that's ok--she's done a lot of crying this week, and this was the first time it was for a good reason. You all make me very proud. I have the best readers in the world, and I'm gonna try and remind myself of that every time I don't feel like writing for a couple of days. Thank you all so very much.
Also, a couple of housekeeping things. A few people have asked if Marcie will be attending the March Madness festivities. Of course I told her all about it, and I think she can be persuaded to make an appearance, but she's got other things to worry about this week. Once life settles down a bit, then we can talk about getting back to normal and doing normal fun things again.
Another thing came up that I didn't think of, but I'm not that cynical. A troll or two suggested that I'm just making the whole thing up to scam people into donations and just lining my pockets. That couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, Marcie is real, and yes her problems are very real. But even folks I know have asked when they'll see a picture of her. I've never taken one of her at work (and she would refuse to let me take a picture of her with her hair up, anyways), and today was the first time we've hung out together outside of the restaurant. But she offered me up some photos that she had, so here ya go.
Ladies and Gentleman, friends, readers.... Here is my favorite gal, Marcie:
First, from the camera phone.
Next, I like to call this one the 'Farrah Fawcett Poster'
And finally, here she is on Fremont Street showing the Gorgeous Girls of Glitter Gulch that they can't even compete with her hotness.
And just so you know that I didn't just go and fetch a bunch of random hot girl photos off of Google Image Search, here we are together earlier this evening.
Things are looking up. I'll write some more tomorrow night with a full update. But for now, she's got a lead on a decent and affordable apartment in the right area, and she'll be checking it out tomorrow.
Thanks again, everyone. God bless you all!