What's your name?

Back in my vegan days, I used to be a regular patron of a raw food restaurant called Leaf Cuisine in Los Angeles. One of their servers was a tall, gangly, young man with a pasty complexion, long, scraggly reddish dreadlocks, and glasses. He was a hippy through and through.

Out of the 3 to 4 times a week I ate at Leaf Cuisine, he was there working 75% of the time. His friendly, personable attitude made him a favorite among us regulars. I appreciated how he listened to people. I find that many servers (especially in busy restaurants) tend to operate on autopilot. But he was always thoughtful, present and positive--even while dealing with long lines of customers.

I realized that I didn't know his name while waiting in line one day. When I approached the counter to place my order, I asked his name, and he answered matter-of-factly, "Pineapple Head."

"Pineapple Head?" I repeated, noticing myself waiting for the punchline. But there was no punchline. Pineapple Head was his name.

I don't know if it was his real name, or a name he got from somewhere or someone (this was LA after all), but I so admired his confidence that I didn't think to ask him any follow up questions, which is rare for me. I usually want to know everything.

Oddly enough, my interaction with Mr. Pineapple Head ended up being a catalyst for changing my name a couple of months later. But that's another story for another day.

Just goes to show, you never know when a seemingly-random interaction in a vegan restaurant will alter the course of your life forever.

Light Watkins