In a land far, far away, or perhaps it is right under your nose, there is a place called The Little World. And in the The Little World, there are little streets, with little houses and cars. Little people live there, and do little things, and go little places. You are getting the picture, right? It is a small world after all.
One of those places where people go…. just happens to be a little restaurant called Nadine’s. Oh…. Everyone loves Nadine’s. The little chef who runs the eatery is a magnificent chef indeed. Everyone calls her “Irma” because that is her name. She cooks beyond imagine, and knows how to slice an onion 147 different ways. The people come to eat, and eat, and eat the glorious meals she creates.
But not only can Irma cook, she is completely kind. She gives away food to those who can’t afford it. She offers jobs to those who want to work. She took an old, old building and made it into a beautiful restaurant. And when Irma cooks, she fills the streets with a banquet of aromas. It makes the people happy.
One day, The Little World renowned Food Critic, Curtis Sylvester Clark, decide to write a review of Nadine’s. He waltzed in with his assistant and took a place at the best table in the house. Irma was glad he was there. She was glad for everyone who came there.
Curtis Sylvester Clark ate seven different courses, and savored every bite. His eyes lit up with joy, as he tasted all the offerings. His nose wiggled. His ears went up two inches higher. He was having the meal of his life.
When things slowed down in the kitchen, Nadine came out to the dining floor to say hello to some of the guests. Curtis spotted her from across the room.
“Did you cook this meal?” he roared. He stood up so abruptly he knocked his chair back three whole feet. “Why yes, I did,” she replied. All of a sudden, he seemed very angry and upset. “And why in this Little World would you EVER wear an orange apron? How dare you woman! Do you know that Orange is the Colors of our rival…the Funny Town? You take that apron OFF at this moment!” he screamed.
“Yes, I am aware that it is orange. But there are many things the beautiful color of orange. And I will not take off this apron. It has been with me since the day I was born, and it is an interwoven part of me,” she calmly replied.
“YOU, Ms. Nadine, have just sealed the fate of your beloved little restaurant. I will never like your food. I will write a review so terribly awful, that you will never have another customer in this place again! How dare you wear orange in my midst!” Then Curtis Sylvester Clark, picked up his Bowler Hat, placed it firmly on his head, and disappeared through the front doorway.
The restaurant was so silent, you could hear a box of spaghetti just sitting on a shelf. And then she replied, in a whisper, “My name is Irma. Not Nadine.”
That night, Irma cried. The restaurant meant the world to her. But more importantly than that, she loved all the people she knew, as a result of her work. She dreaded the morning, and going to an empty place.
The sun came up again. And. As with every dawn, she peddled her way through the streets of Little World, and into Nadine’s.
A line of people were standing out front, and each and every person was holding a newspaper. And as they filed through the door, they handed Irma their papers. That morning’s edition contained the scathing review from Curtis Sylvester Clark. The harsh words, the terrible criticism… all despite the fact that it was not true.
Then, Arnold Henderson, the guy who pumps the gasoline, down at the BigSaver, came to Irma. He clutched her arm and said. “What we are telling you is true. We know who your are. You are one of the kindest people in all of the Little World. And empty, empty words from some book or paper, will not blind us from that.”
The reviews were covered with paintings and pictures. Others were used to wrap special gifts for Irma. Some were decorated with photos or poems or Unicorns. And each one told Irma how much they loved her for who she was…… for the food she cooks… and everything she does. So Irma smiled a little smile and took a little breath, and once again, began her good work.
And… from that Little World… we can see THIS world of ours. No matter the color of our apron, it is a part of who we are. A good person is a good person, no matter what that apron looks like. Don’t let empty words tell you differently. And if Irma fixes you a bowl of amazing Macaroni and Cheese… be very glad for it. Even if the cheese looks a little orange, it will be the most delicious dish in the world. Because…. it was made with love.