One evening I found myself on my own for dinner. My husband was working late, so I headed to a local diner. I was looking forward to eating alone. I was going to grab my favorite sandwich, some iced tea, and my book – so I could read while I ate. When I walked into the restaurant, there was only one other customer inside. 

I didn’t pay much attention to this older gentleman, until he walked up and asked if he could sit and eat with me. I wanted to say no. My book was really good, and I knew once I got home, I wouldn’t have a chance to sit and read. But saying no felt unkind, and so I said yes.  

He sat down across from me, and I was hesitant to jump into conversation, but soon we started chatting. His name was John. He was retired, but had been an engineer – like my husband. His children were grown and living in other cities. John’s wife had been ill, and he retired to be her full-time caregiver, but she died two months before. After her passing, his children had been around for a while, and he still talked to them daily. He was keeping busy because he liked woodworking and fixing lawnmowers and small appliances. But after 45 years of marriage, the thing that was the hardest for him to get used to was eating alone.  

For me, eating alone was something I looked forward to. For him, it was a reminder of what he’d so recently lost.  

John told me he ate out most nights. Over the last month, almost every time he’d gone out, he asked someone if he could sit and eat with them. I was the first person to say yes. John told me that my willingness to share a meal made his week, and he couldn’t wait to tell his kids about the evening. Before he left, he gave me his phone number. He told me that if I – or anyone in my family – ever needed anything, to just call. He promised to answer and that he would always say yes.  

What is your “say yes” story? Maybe you wanted to say no, but you said yes anyway. Maybe you were hesitant, but you kept moving forward. Maybe you still can’t believe you said yes, or maybe you haven’t even acted upon your “yes” yet.  

Every time I drive by that restaurant, I am reminded of how a simple yes, that barely cost me anything, brought enough joy to someone that he couldn’t wait to go home and tell his kids about it. This story isn’t earth-shattering; in fact, it meant absolutely nothing to most of the world. But on that Thursday night, in that diner, over a cold sandwich and iced tea – it was significant to John – and to me.  


  • When has someone else’s “yes” impacted you significantly?  
  • What is your “say yes” story? 

Kelli Jordan,