Introducing Karen Dunn’s “Service with a Smile”

Posted: January 23, 2009 in Service with a Smile
dining_restaurant_55_smaller1Hello friends!
My name is Karen Dunn.  I live a simple life with my husband Anthony, daughter Amanda and 2 lazy cats. My job as a server in a local family restaurant is exhausting and perhaps seen by some as even degrading and unrewarding.  However, the opportunities to bring joy and hope to the masses is extraordinary.
In the days to come I want to share some stories with you about the way that the Lord has moved and changed the lives of many (especially my own) one lonely, desperate soul at a time in an unobtrusive little restaurant in southeast Tennessee.  Who can possibly say how many lives THESE people have changed as a result of the far reaching arm of God.  Perhaps capturing these memories on paper will remind me of the plan that God has for my life.  So, I suppose I am somewhat selfish in my desire to share these stories with you.  The stories are true but the names are mostly fictitious.  Not to “protect the innocent” but because I never even knew their names.  God, however, has their names permanently etched in his heart and had a definite plan for them that day………

Service with a Smile 

Chapter One

I was finally winding down to the end of a very long day. Only one more table to go!  Three shabbily dressed men with scruffy beards and holes in their shoes sat down in my section.  Oh well, at least it was my last table.  I put on a smile, straightened my apron and approached the men. 
I had been preoccupied all day with the realization that if I did not bring $187.00 to the dealership in the morning my car would be repossessed.  I knew that if I was lucky I would make $75, but $187.00?  No way!  “Well Lord, you know what I need!” I laughingly prayed.  By the time that I reached the last table I was overjoyed!  I had earned an unthinkable $150.22! Praise God, I could now call around to some friends to get the rest of the money that I needed.
“Hello gentlemen, may I bring you some coffee or tea today?”  When they looked up, their smiles were quite disarming.  They were so kind that I decided to ask them where they were from.  They shared with me that they were street ministers that had been formerly drug addicts and they came to work with some ministers here in town to teach them how to reach the people that many of us have written off and forgotten.  I was truly moved by their testimony.  When they had finished their meal I noticed that there was a $5.00 tip on the table for which I was grateful.  As I layed down the ticket one of the men asked if they could pray for me before they left.  I responded that it would be my honor to pray for them instead.  I did so and felt such peace and joy that I was energized as I started back to the table to clean it up.  I was shocked to see that the $5.00 was there-along with several other bills and a pile of change!  When I counted it up you would never believe it-$36.78-not a penny more or less!   The men were leaving when I sprinted to the door to thank them.  They said that when I finished praying for them the Lord told them to empty out their pockets of any cash or change so they did.  When I told them my story we rejoiced together!
I learned a valuable lesson that day-when I pray for others I stop worrying about my own problems and needs and my burden is lifted!  Praise God for His faithfulness and His great patience with me!
Job 42:10a After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous..

  1. Angie Yilling says:

    What an encouragement!!
    Thanks, Angie

  2. Diane says:

    Thank you, Karen. I love hearing about the works of the Lord.

  3. Ann says:

    What a blessing you are to us all with your testimony!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Suanne Lewellyn says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this story. I do not think you are selfish at all. These are stories that need to be told to remind us of what a great God we serve and how He is never ‘surprised’ or ‘caught off guard’. I love it.


  5. Brian says:


  6. Mel says:

    I am so proud of you Mom! I brag to everyone about your job and how much God uses you there to bless others!

  7. karen says:

    that ‘s great baby !!!
    love u always

  8. Rob Beaird says:

    I’ve always told you that you had a gift for writing and plenty of material in your life to draw from and you are now proving me right! You’ve inherited Dad’s story telling abilities. I’m very proud of you and can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to use your column in the future!

    Big Bro

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