When the homeless man revealed who he really was, her boss’ face twisted in horror. She watched the smug sneer slide right off his face as the realization dawned on him.
He hadn’t just lost his reputation, he had lost everything. And he knew it. She had never dreamed that a simple act of kindness would have so many consequences.
Traci Bamm from California had big dreams, but they would have to wait.
Working long shifts as a waitress was just enough to pay the bills, and she barely had enough time to attend her nighttime classes. Still, today she was thankful for what she had. After all, her situation could be a lot worse.
A Sad Situation
Traci noticed a homeless man who had been sitting outside the restaurant she worked at. He’d been there a few days now, and seeing him broke her heart.
Maybe it was the way he shared his food with the stray cats and dogs in the alleyway… or the way he always smiled and greeted her when she walked past. There was something about him that touched her deeply. She wanted to help, but her boss would try to put a stop to that.
Michelin Star Restaurant
Traci worked as a waitress at one of California’s most prestigious restaurants. The chef had two Michelin Stars under his belt, and he was determined to keep them.
He was also the owner. Although his food was excellent, he had an inflated ego, refused to delegate, and micromanaged his staff with an iron fist. He was the stuff of nightmares. As long as Traci stayed out his way, it all suited her just fine.
She was studying to be a chef. Although she loved working around food, her job was a means to an end – the experience she was getting in the Michelin Star restaurant was invaluable.
But, when she saw the homeless man who had taken up residence outside, working in such a high-end restaurant was also a major source of guilt for Traci.
The restaurant was booming. Rich diners would arrive dressed to the nines, and they had no qualms about dropping hundreds of dollars for the most lavish meals.
Traci couldn’t bear the thought that, while the rich dined out and ordered Champagne, a homeless man slept just a few feet away on the street with an empty belly. She had to do something.
Life On The Streets
At first glance, the homeless man looked like any other man who had fallen on hard times. But, Traci noticed that he always greeted everyone who passed with a smile and tried to engage with them.
The strange thing was, he didn’t ask anyone for money, a job, food, or clothes – he genuinely looked like he just wanted to speak to somebody. One day, Traci couldn’t ignore her feelings anymore.
Coming Up With A Plan
More than anything else, Traci wanted to help the homeless man. But she had no money to give him – all of it went to her studies and her rent.
Since she made and ate most of her meals at the restaurant (a perk of her job), she didn’t even have extra food to give him. But she knew what she wanted to do. The only problem was her boss – who wouldn’t even permit her to give him food scraps. He could never find out.
A Labor Of Love
Traci wanted her kind gesture to be a labor of love. She couldn’t give him money, but there was one thing that only she could do for him.
Since she was an aspiring chef, it made sense to put her skills to use and show the homeless man that someone cared enough to make him a meal. Getting the ingredients would be the risky part.
Taking A Huge Risk
Traci planned on borrowing a few ingredients from the restaurant’s stores and replacing them when she got her paycheck. She wanted the homeless man to taste something luxurious… something he had never tasted before.
If she was caught stealing before she could replace what she’d taken, she could be fired or arrested. Her boss wouldn’t even think twice. But now that the idea was firmly in her head, there was no going back.
Traci made sure her boss was preoccupied with a busy lunch service before she enacted her plan. She could hear the frantic clattering of pots and pans as he barked orders and swore at his sous chef. It was now or never.
She snuck into the pantry and selected two black truffles, a handful of fresh chanterelle mushrooms, eggs, and a bottle of Marcassin Chardonnay. She’d probably have to pick up a few more shifts so she could afford to replace them, but it would be worth it. Then, she heard her boss’ voice.
Traci’s heart began to pound out of her chest. Her boss was right outside and she couldn’t escape. If he saw what she had it would all be over.
She wasn’t even allowed to be in here. She prepared for the worst – she’d be screamed at, fired on the spot, and possibly hauled to jail for stealing. She was trapped.
Traci’s first instinct was to tuck her ill-gotten goods into her pockets and apron, but the bottle wouldn’t fit. The neck hung out, accusingly.
Her eyes darted around, looking for somewhere to hide if her boss came in. She tried not to make a sound as she listened to his heavy footsteps. When she heard him walk away, she almost cried with relief. When she was sure he was gone, she dashed out the door.
Cooking From Her Heart
Traci hid the expensive ingredients in a bag in her locker for the duration of her shift. When it was finally over, she couldn’t get out of the restaurant fast enough.
As she lovingly fried the chanterelle mushrooms and kneaded the pasta dough in her apartment, she couldn’t stop thinking about what the homeless man’s face would look like when she presented him with the meal. Little did she know, the man hadn’t been entirely truthful to her.
Delivering The Meal
Traci plated up the homemade pasta and shaved the black truffles on top. She got out a crystal wineglass and packed everything neatly in a basket. Tonight, the homeless man would eat like a king.
Her heart fluttered as she rounded the corner, but she was relieved to see that the man was still there.