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Letters: Special Treat For Group Home

To the Editor:

On Monday, March 18, our City of Alexandria group home was informed late in the day that we would be undergoing repairs early the next day. The residents and staff would not be allowed in the home while these repairs were being made. As a result, we did not have access to our kitchen on March 19. Because we were notified so late in the day, the counselors could not allocate funds quickly enough to allow our residents to eat out.

I decided to call a few restaurants in Old Town inquiring if they would be interested in treating us to lunch as a gesture of goodwill the following day, March 19. The first restaurants I called had to regrettably say no because of the difficult economic times. My last call was to the Paradiso Pizzeria at 124 King St. I spoke with the manager, Sara Gunter, and communicated our situation to her. Without hesitation, she exclaimed, “We'd love to treat you all to lunch." I explained to her there would be six attendees from the Alexandria group home. She responded, “We’ll have a table ready for you, and it will be a pleasure to have your group home here.”

This touched my heart just knowing that I had found a loving, compassionate heart willing to reach out a helping hand by treating us to of a meal at the last minute.

The following day after touring the Torpedo Factory we headed to the Paradiso Pizzeria (walking distance from the Torpedo Factory). Upon arrival, the seven of us were greeted by the host and were escorted to our reserved table. We ordered our food and beverages, and throughout our meal, the waiter made sure that no glass was ever empty. We were treated like royalty!

You would not believe how much our group home residents love pizza. As much as they love it, they can be quite finicky when it comes to choosing their toppings, but we turned everything over to the waiter to decide what would be best. I became a little nervous when our waiter made the choice of several pizzas with different toppings hoping to please each of us, but please us, he did. Each pizza began with mouth-watering Paradiso tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. I wish you could have been there to observe the expressions on our faces as we feasted on the enhancing flavors of sundried tomato, sweet red tomato, sweet red pepper, pesto, and pine nuts, not to mention the succulent flavors of lamb sausage, mortadella, pancetta, pepperoni, prosciutto, salami and sausage. And to top it all off, their taste buds were titillated with the flavors of fontina, Gorgonzola, and pecorino cheeses. Every time a pizza was consumed, it was immediately replaced with another. As you can probably imagine, there was no room for dessert. We were filled to our heart’s content.

Everyone enjoyed a delightful lunch and such a great time dining amidst the lovely ambiance of Old Town. Memories were made that day. Our waiter couldn’t have been more attentive and thoughtful as he served us. Several of us in the party are picky eaters. The waiter was so conscientious and could not have been more considerate. Knowing this was a “treat” from Paradiso Pizzeria, our server was not expecting any tip. Yet, this did not hamper his attentive and kindhearted service to us. He did not miss a beat when a glass of soda needed to be refilled. He literally accommodated our every wish before we could even think to ask. We are accustomed to having lunch out at fast food restaurants. I would never have dreamed this lunch would turn into such an unforgettable dining experience.

Following this spectacular lunch we relaxed while we rode the Old Town Trolley. By this time we were able to return to our group home as the repairs had been completed.

Encounters like this don’t happen very often, and we are grateful for the generosity bestowed upon us by this wonderful restaurant.

Kathy McDonald

Residential Counselor

City of Alexandria