Sometimes the Worst Christmas Gifts Can Turn into the Best

by Jillian Samson

When I was a young woman, I was working at a restaurant as a waitress. The work was hard, the restaurant busy and fast paced, and the shifts tiring. There were a couple of other waitresses at the restaurant and a series of cook’s helper types, but my primary regular co-worker was a young man by the name of Jay. He was the cook during my shift, and he was good!

We would exchange pleasant banter and dance to the music at the end of the night after closing. I had quite the crush on this young man.

We often talked about our personal lives. We were both on our own and didn’t really have any friends. Loners, I’d call us.

I shared with him my diagnosis with diabetes at the tender age of five, and how I was often frustrated that I had to watch my diet so carefully. On top of that I had a whole host of food allergies including tropical nuts like macadamia, coconut, and Brazil.

He shared his previous struggles with drugs and alcohol and how he had been clean for nearly three years, and how he was loving his life so much more than he had in the past.

I thought maybe that we were good support for each other and were falling in love.

The holiday season was upon use, and the restaurant owner spruced the place up with holly and mistletoe.

It was Christmas Eve, and the restaurant was closing early. Jay and I were on the closing shift, and at 5:00 p.m., he hung the closed sign, and I started cleaning up.

After things were looking spiffy, we danced to a carol under the mistletoe, and he kissed me. I was happy and not surprised.

Then as we were about to say good night, he said, “Wait, I have a present for you.” I was excited but also worried because I didn’t have a gift for him!

He brought out a wrapped box, and I thought and remembered that I did have a package in my bag. It was a gift from a cousin who lived in my city. She had given it to me the previous night, and I hadn’t opened it yet. I went and grabbed it, and we both smiled sheepishly as we exchanged gifts.

I tore the paper off the box and inside was a selection of gourmet coconut candy.

He tore the paper off his and inside was a bottle of aged scotch.

We both just stared at each other in confusion.

I couldn’t believe that that gift was liquor, but even more upsetting was the fact that he would buy me coconut candy. I told him that I was a diabetic. I told him about my allergies. They were common conversation topics. We both just sat there stunned.

I wondered how I could have so misjudged him! This was one of the worst Christmas gifts ever. Of course, I could tell he thought the same.

Well, turns out that he hadn’t gotten that gift for me either. It was a gift given to him by someone he knew slightly at AA. He only gave it to me because he wanted to keep me from leaving too soon, and it was all he could think to do to keep me there.

Eventually we sorted things out between laughter and a few tears.

That was the start of a romance that has been going strong for years now! Sometimes the worst Christmas gifts ever can turn into the best.

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