Golden Tickets

Recently, we started a new process to help streamline seating at the meal: as each person comes through the door, we hand them a yellow, numbered meal ticket.   This allows us to keep track of how full the hall is getting (the hall holds 124 people), how fast it's filling up (good information to the kitchen), which seats are still empty, etc.

We had to explain to each person what the ticket was for.  Some thought it was their pre-assigned table number (we have open seating).  Others thought it meant  the hall was full and this was their place on the waitlist  (we've handed out numbers in the past just for this purpose).   No, it was simply a ticket they could exchange for their meal, or place on their seat to hold their spot while they wandered off somewhere.  It worked really well and we did it again this week.

At some point, we started calling them Golden tickets as we handed them out.   Golden tickets were featured in one of my daughter's favourite childhood stories and movie: Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  In the story, a golden ticket was hidden inside one of five randomly selected Wonka chocolate bars.   Whoever discovered one of these five tickets won a fantastic prize: touring the chocolate factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.   It led to some interesting behaviour.  Spoiler alert: For example, a rich Dad bought thousands of bars to ensure his  daughter got a ticket.  And one of the poorest children in the land managed to get a ticket.

Here at the meal, everyone gets the same golden ticket, regardless of income, beliefs, age or appearance.   And everyone gets the same prize: a hot, tasty meal cooked and served with love.  And, since the meal's been going strong for over a decade, you could say we're offering a lifetime supply of fresh, hot Tuesday meals at St Alban.  And I'm sure if people ask nicely, we'd even offer up a tour of our little Community Meal factory.

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