Jack Block Park, Empathy and a Taco Salad on Alki Beach

What to do with my rare free time…

Three days ago after I finished performing a tour for some clients visiting from Detroit. I had about 90 minutes to kill before I had to pick up my son from preschool. I decided to explore some of Alki with my free time.

My First stop was at Jack Block Park for some photos on a clear day in January. I had yet to visit JBP but had heard the viewpoint of the Skyline there was the best in the city. I walked the length of the park and took some great photos for my Instagram and Facebook accounts. However, I didn’t leave enough time to head home for lunch. I only had 45 minutes before I had to pick-up Stevie (my 4 year old son) from Highland Park Elementary. I decided instead to grab a quick and delicious lunch at Marination Ma Kai.

Barge and Skyline at Jack Block Park

I was amazed when I saw there was no line at the register. After perusing the menu, I decided on a taco salad. However, when I reached into my pocket to pay, I realized I didn’t have my money clip. That clip contained about $50 cash, my drivers license and a slew of credit cards. Informing the woman at the register that I must have left my money in the van, I went to the parking lot to search.

I returned to the van and much to my chagrin, could not find the money clip anywhere. After searching all its nooks and crannies for about 10 minutes I realized I was in big trouble. I would not be able to pay for my order nor could I drive legally. A little frazzled, I walked back into Marination. “I’m sorry” I said trying to hide the stress one feels after having lost sensitive things. “I think I lost all my cash and credit cards, I can’t pay.” Rather than giving me attitude, the ladies behind the counter said “Well then you really need a good lunch don’t you? Take this one for free. Go back and retrace your steps. Would you like a to-go container?”

Amazed at the kindness and empathy I accepted and said thank you. “That’s just the worst feeling isn’t it?” they replied as they handed me a compostable to go box. “Good luck finding it.” I was humbled by their kindness and mumbled something about coming back soon and paying it forward.

With my taco salad in a to-go container, I drove back to Jack Block Park and retraced my steps. Nothing was found and I ran back to the van and drove to Highland Park Elementary to pick up my son. All the while, I was contemplating how to manage trips to the DMV and making calls to cancel my credit cards. I got home, ate my Marination Taco Salad and went out back to clean out the van. Luckily, I found my money clip way in the back underneath the sliding middle seat. How on earth it came to rest there I still have NO idea.

How to say thank you!

Today I will be heading back to Marination to treat my family to a delicious lunch, say thank you once again, and leave a very generous gratuity to the wonderful staff. Its a rare thing these days to help out a person when they are having a hard time. However, its even more rare to help someone out whose circumstances negatively affect you. But that’s exactly what the good people at Marination did. That’s empathy. That’s customer service at its finest. Most of all, that’s just being a good person. Now, its not just the delicious food at Marination that will keep me coming back as a dedicated customer. Its the fact that I know I will be spending my money at an establishment that values kindness and employs good people. Thank you MMK, its safe to say that you made my week!