Today we have something a bit different, but incredibly awesome nonetheless. And it just shows how the employees at Knott's are some of the best in the industry, or really anywhere. Our good friend Andros posted this on his Facebook page this morning and this story is used with his permission. Enjoy, and get the kleenex ready. It's the feel good story of the day.
Note: Any ad revenue generated from this article will be donated to Children's Hospital Orange County, so feel free to share!!
I'm still considered a new guy working at Knott's Berry Farm as a train bandit. The job is challenging, fun, sometimes frustrating and sometimes, it's rewarding.
Tonight for me and my partner Chris, it was rewarding.
It was another day at the farm, entertaining guests with our smarty improvisation and at times just being plain silly with kids of all ages. It was just after we left the second to the last train of the night that a family walked up and asked us if we could take a picture with their children. Chris and I always oblige, especially if there are children involved. I have always felt that if I can leave an impact on a child during a tender young age in a good way, then I have done my job for the night. Warm happy memories are what I have always believed we are here for.
The family approached us and we both immediately noticed that one of the children was dancing around and just full of happiness. A huge smile was on her face and she was dressed in her Beetlejuice pajamas, a funny, silly girl of no more than 8 years old. She danced up to me with the family and made a face. I told her, "Hey! You're dressed like that Beetlejuice fella!"
She replied, "Yes! He's my favorite!"
She was full of happiness. Just so happy not to be in the hospital and fighting. For today, the fight was on hold and she was allowed to roam Knott's with her family. It was their day and she was making the best of it.
I pulled her near me and she leaned hard against me. I felt her feeling comfortable with me so I put my hand on her shoulder and another hand on the shoulder of her sister. The little one started giggling and had a huge smile on her face when the camera snapped our memory together.
I leaned over and hugged her and said quietly, "Are you a fighter?"
"Yes!", she said, still dancing. She spun around in happy circles with her one arm, the other missing due to an amputation due to bone cancer.
"Will you come back and visit us when you're done with your fight? You'll have more hair than me, ya know!"
Again, she answered, "Yes! I will come back and see you Mr. Bandit!"
She smiled and waved and went off dancing with her family and they surrounded her with as much happiness they haven't seen in a while. Her head lacked hair, but the joy that she expressed touched me and nothing could replace that. She wasn't suffering in the hospital. No tubes. No monitors. No doctors. No blood samples. She was allowed to be a happy little girl and all was well in the world. Nothing could ruin what she was enjoying for that moment and it was beautiful.
After our goodbyes, Chris and myself were summoned to prepare closing the crossing gates when a Knott's supervisor called out to us and asked us for our attention for a quick moment. She saw how we treated the special guest and handed us Thank You cards for a Job Well Done. We thanked her and continued with the train and guests that were waiting for us.
When I returned to our break area, that small card stayed with me all the way home. It's not about being thanked, or gratitude. It's about being recognized for something that I do not mind doing. Especially if it's to be making the day, or something that our little happy guest can remember for her whole life.
I can only pray for our guest that crossed our paths that she can have a normal life like other children her age and an entire life ahead of her. I pray for her family as I'm sure they've endured so much in her fight for her life. I pray for all of my friends, hoping you all have the opportunity some day to be able to reach out and make someone's day as special as this ray of sunshine that danced right by me tonight.
Have a great night and a great weekend, everyone.