Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random acts of kindness, etc. etc..part 2

Meg had only been home for a week, and was already leaving for two weeks to attend an Urban Seminar at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA.  It's right in the heart of Philly - and it had been a while since I've done any heavy duty city driving.  We get there in one piece (thanks to Daniel, our British GPS), park the car, find her dorm, and decide to get a bite to eat. The school is huge, and sprawling out over a few city blocks.  There's no real way to tell what is part of the University, and what's not, except for the 10 foot high pointy wrought iron fence that surrounds the residence halls.  There's not a lot around, and we notice a restaurant about a block away called The Point on Elkins Avenue. 

We go inside, and order a Margharita Pizza - for those that never had one - it's a simple pizza dough covered with tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil.  Simple, lower fat than the other stuff you normally get.  There is a very friendly person at the counter.  She greeted everyone with a smile, and it seemed like a few regulars came in, and she remembered "their usual".  It took a while to get the pizza, but it was worth the wait.  Crispy yet tender crust, great sauce, just yummy.  I was amazed, because honestly, I was expecting some sort of run of the mill pizza.  We ate, got the leftovers in a box, and it was quiet then, so we talked a bit with the woman behind the counter and the chef who made the pizza.

I brought Meg back to her dorm, checked the time, then decided I would pick up a couple more pizzas from The Point and bring them back to MD for dinner because I'd be getting home around that time and good pizza is hard to come by here in MD unless you are in Baltimore - sorry ppl, NJ born and bred here, I am PICKY about my pizza.

I chatted more with Sharon behind the counter.  She was a doll.  Friendly, Christian, had a great story to tell - Took care of her mom until she passed away 5 years ago, and overcame some personal hurdles she should be damn proud of.  Sweet, friendly, unbelievably nice woman.  I then talk to the chef (whose name is Lenny) a bit more while the pizza is cooking.  He has a son that just graduated college (gah can't remember which one!) that's going into the Army, and a daughter at Albright with a dual major in business and Spanish.  Meg is minoring in Spanish, so a common bond there...his mom was a chef, and taught all her kids how to cook.  He loves cooking, but got a college degree in bio and became an autopsy tech, because it was something that always interested him (me too! which was another common bond) the next question was...how do you go from corpses to cooking??? His kids had grown up, he loved to cook, and retired from the autopsy business, but wanted to keep busy.  A friend got him a job as a cook supervisor at a prison, and he supervised the prison inmate cooks, then that segued into the job he had now with LaSalle which he loves.  And he makes THE BEST pizza -  this is from a Jersey girl, so you know it's da truth

A LaSalle security guard walks in on break - turns out he's a Jersey boy! He was a cop in Philly for years, retired, and is now a security guard.  He orders a salad because he has a heart condition and says he can't eat pizza.  I suggested the margharita one, MUCH less fat if he wants to treat himself.  Turns out he grew up in the same town I was born and spent the first six years of my life in - Englewood, NJ!!! We reminisced about Murray's Funereal Home (his family owned it!!!) the great Jewish deli near the monument, Palisade Avenue, and Dwight Morrow high school.  He gave me a shortcut to route 95 that will bypass most of the rush hour traffic - being a Philly cop for 25 years has its advantages!

A couple more people walk in, and get drawn in the conversation.  I didn't catch their names, but we showed off pictures of our kids, and if Meg is wondering why a strange woman said hi to her last night at dinner...you can blame me for that :-)  Plus, she came in with a guy that saw us pull into the lot, he has a 20 year old son, is 40, and dang, doesn't look a day over 30, and is more jacked than his 20 year old son!  I told him I was so surprised at how nice everyone one, especially since this is a city, and I haven't met any ppl this nice, even in the south, and he just chuckled, and said "yeah, everyone IS nice in Philly - it's our way"

By then, I felt like I was with old friends.  My pizzas were done though, and rush hour was coming.  I gave Sharon a big hug goodbye (what a sweetie!) waved to Lenny, the cop (lou I think?) and my other two new friends, and reluctantly left to hit the road.

Lou's directions were impeccable,  I didn't run into ANY traffic, and bypassed all the downtown rush hour crap by the airport.  Thanks!

If you are ever in Philly - stop at The Point and eat one of Lenny's pizzas.  It's part of LaSalle, and has the nicest people ever.  And for a cheesesteak sandwich my cop friend tells me THE place to go is Pat's King of Steaks - but only if your heart and arteries are in good shape :-)

I do have a question though...If people from Philly are so nice, what happens to them when they hit the stands in their sports arenas? 

Supposedly (and according to my husband who is an avid sports fan) they are the worst in the nation.  Any people from Philly care to comment? :-)


  1. oh you said people from philly care to comment. i just say "anyone care to comment?"
    haha. sorry! :P

  2. HOW SWEET. i loved this story! makes me want to go talk to some random strangers somewhere right now. i always hear that people are not as friendly up north,but i don't think it's true. everytime i've been to md or anywhere around there, as long as i'm nice and outgoing, everyone else is sweet and talkative as well.

    my opinion on the sports thing: sometimes people center their anger on one thing. i hear road rage is that one thing a lot. for me it's robby haha. i'm a sweetheart everywhere else but around him. everyone has that vent relief place... maybe for them, it's sports?