A Dish of Ice Cream


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?”

“50 cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.

“How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.

“35 cents,” she said brusquely.

The little boy again counted the coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw.

There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents – her tip.

How often are we willing to look beyond our needs, to consider the needs of others?

When Jesus said ” The second most important commandment is like loving God with all you are, and added, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself”, I think this is what He had in mind. That out of whatever we might provide for ourselves, we would be willing to leave enough to provide for others.

What do I take away from the story of the little boy and the ice cream?

First: It is not the size of the gift but the heart behind it. Whether it is a little or a lot, its giving out of what we have, sometimes sacrificing what we want to show kindness to others that matters.

Second: Be generous. In this story obviously from a different time, the little boy was generous. By today’s standards his tip would have equaled almost fifty percent. Imagine receiving a $25 tip on $50 check

Third: Be kind and generous even when others are not. I have been in food service management for many years and one of the hardest things to teach new employees is to serve the guest and be kind to them even when they are difficult and hard to deal with. In the end everyone including you will be better off for the grace shown.

We are not given anymore information about the thoughts of the server in this scenario. She saw the little boy as not worthy of her time, holding up other customers worthy of her time.

Hopefully it helped her in the future to see worth and value in everyone. Even a little boy who just wanted a dish of ice cream.

And so we should also…

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