Sadness sits at a Booth

Column by J1 reporter: Lilly McAndrews

I am genuinely filled with sadness when I see a person above the age of 60 eating alone. 

Greg has been coming to this diner every Sunday for 20 years now. For 19 of those years he came with his wife Mary.

Interior of a Diner, source: iStock interior of a diner photo

Greg was always a smiley happy person. Every time my family would come to the diner for breakfast, Greg would be there welcoming us in with a smile. 

That’s all that I know of him. How welcoming he is. Mary was just the same. But one day that would all change. 

It’s a cool fall day and he is being served his regular meal. 2 pancakes, hash browns, and a coffee. Greg doesn’t say much as he sits in the same booth every Sunday. He looks forward, finishes his meal, and leaves a good tip before leaving. 

No one knows what Greg does before he arrives or what Greg does after he eats at diner. Everyone knows that Greg will always be there every Sunday. 

Greg’s wife used to chat up the waiters, talk to the people at the table adjacent to the booth, and make comments about the football game on, and Greg would sit there and smile.

Mary passed away last summer. Greg goes to the diner still, but he never smiles. 

When people see an older person sitting alone eating or out and about alone there is a sense of sadness that emerges. It’s part of not knowing their story and why they are alone and it’s part of the sense of loneliness they give off. 

It makes a person just want to sit next to this older person and learn about the past. Learn about what makes them still go out. Learn about what makes them smile.

There is already a feeling of sadness when people see other people eating alone, but when humans see older humans sitting alone that feeling heightens.

This is why it’s so sad to see Greg eating alone. Everyone knows his story. Why he doesn’t smile. Why he comes to the diner every Sunday. The reasoning behind why makes it 10 times harder to not feel sad.

Next time go sit next to that old man or woman. Talk to them. Be there so they don’t have to sit alone. 

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