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December 12th, 2018 was a day that made me rethink what the holidays are all about.


It was around 10 pm at night, and I just finished a concert at school. My friends and sister came to see the performance and we found ourselves going to the Tick Tock Diner. It was a Wednesday night very late, and the place was practically empty. 


We were sitting at a table in the middle of the Diner, and next to us was another table with three women and a man. There was one waiter working that night, he took our order then took the table next to us. Both table’s food came out at the same time. About an hour passed and we hadn’t seen the waiter. So one of my friends turned to the neighboring table and asked if they’ve seen him. Nope. Our waiter was nowhere to be found and it was just two tables in the Tick Tock Diner on a cold December night. 


We started a conversation with a lady named Cindy, at the neighboring table as we were waiting for our missing waiter to return. Cindy told us she and her partner Heather were from California. They were here for just a couple of days and wanted to know some good Christmas light attractions to see in NYC. We started chatting and telling her all our recommendations. Heather then complimented my dress, and I explained I had just come from a performance, and am a music major. Cindy and her table asked the rest of my friends and sister what they were studying in school. We all got so carried away in conversation before we knew it an hour must have passed. These people were so kind and supportive of our passions. It was so refreshing and kind, they barely knew us, yet believed in us and everything our futures have to hold. Our waiter finally returned with the check, and as soon as he put it down on our table Cindy took it. She said to us, “I will cover your check, it’s Hanukah. But I want all of you to go out and do amazing things in this world.” 


We couldn’t believe it, we explained to her that it really wasn’t necessary, we had just met this woman, and didn’t even know her last name. For her to spend her money on four college girls who she barely knew was truly remarkable. 


Cindy’s kind gesture made me realize that the holidays are about giving to ALL, not just some. 


Just two tables, eight strangers, and one night at the Tick Tock Diner. Separated by thousands of miles, age, sexuality, and religion. We would have never expected our paths to cross how they did. Expectations are almost lackluster to reality. Cindy proved that to be true that night.


We didn’t expect someone to pay for our meal, to be so supportive and kind, or to even start a conversation about our majors. Yet it all happened, it all really happened. That’s the most magical part about the holidays. If everyone embraces it and allows a little light to shine in their hearts, anybody give a little something to ALL.  

Allyson Latini

Montclair '20

Allyson is a Senior at MSU studying Jazz with a double major in Marketing. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting, and traveling! She loves stories and fairytales. Everyone has a story to tell, and Allyson loves helping people tell them. “Finding something worth believing in is the closest thing we have to magic, so believe darling.”
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