|Georgeann (left) and Wendy, who brightened our pre-class pizza nights with humour and a surprise.|
|My classmates Georgeann, with hot water, and Elizabeth-Anne, with iced tea.|
It's hard to feel a warm glow when you think of Pender and Seymour in downtown Vancouver. It's not the Downtown Eastside, where the drug addicts struggle, but it's an unlovely place of frequent construction, heavy traffic and the same-same hard-edged buildings that turn much of the city into glass-and-steel monotony.
In the middle of all this, there's Goldie's Pizza. And Wendy.
Now Goldie's, at the corner of Pender and Seymour, is not an unusual pizza joint -- it has plasticized menus, pre-wrapped utensil bundles, a takeout window. But the food is fine, and three of us have been meeting there for a pre-class dinner every Monday since our university course began in September.
Things changed a few weeks into the semester, when I realized the server on duty was the one who had pulled off a miracle the previous Monday. She had found a way to get my classmate Georgeann not just water without ice cubes, not just lukewarm water, but water that -- ecstatically for her -- was actually hot! This may sound strange, but earlier waiters had sadly shaken their heads when asked for hot water. "Don't you have a hot water tap?" Georgeann pleaded. "Couldn't you just turn it on?" But no, no, impossible. Then Wendy showed up. Hot water? She was back in 30 seconds with a steaming glass!
"Surprise my friend," I suggested, when I arrived early the next week and found Wendy on the job. Georgeann likes a surprise even better than she likes hot water, so when Wendy greeted her with her favourite drink, her laugh ricocheted around the restaurant. Ever since, Wendy has been part of our Monday nights. And ever since, the corner of Pender and Seymour has seemed like a warmer part of the city altogether.