SPOKANE, Wash. - A few days ago Mike Ellis and his wife Dianah went to Shari's Restaurant for a late-night bite to eat. Little did they know, their waitress, a woman named Bernie, who has worked at Shari's for 18-years, would inspire them to do something very nice on Christmas day.
Bernie, an 18-year veteran at Shari's restaurant on North Monroe, is described by her co-workers as not only an "outstanding employee," but someone who is always quick to give to others before ever focusing on herself. More simply, someone who is 'selfless.'
"We got to talking to Bernie and all she would talk about was her grandkids," explained Ellis. "We knew at that time that in speaking to her, and being around her for a little bit, that we were dealing with someone who gave to everyone else."
Ellis was so moved by Bernie that he wanted to help make her Christmas a little more merry. Specifically, he wanted to make sure Bernie was able to get Christmas gifts for her grandchildren.
So, Mike quickly took to Facebook and started sharing Bernie's story.
Very soon, he had collected gift cards and over $300 in cash for Bernie and her family.
"People love to hear about givers this time of year, people who give to others before they would ever give to themselves," said Mike. "I think that's a part of the attraction of this."
Ellis said on Facebook that "generous, giving, and loving hearts" overwhelmed him while he collected donations for Bernie, but he was not at all surprised.
"Every time I've asked Spokane to respond in a generous way like this, they respond generously," he said.
On Christmas, Mike greeted Bernie at Shari's at the start of her shift to give her what he has collected over the past few days.
Bernie was overwhelmed with emotion by the gesture. Some customers sitting next to Mike and Bernie teared up when they realized what was happening - they knew Bernie was very deserving of the gifts.
"Thank you so much," she managed to say. "Merry Christmas to all of you."
We hope this story inspires you to reach out to the "Bernie" in your life, because at the end of the day, that's what the holiday season is all about - it's about giving, just like Bernie does, every single day.
Merry Christmas to you, your family, and all the 'Bernie's' in your life.