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When It's Your Birthday, Try Something New

I did, and it meant an afternoon of unexpected kindness, a deliciously prepared meal, closed-captioned soap operas and the meeting of a gracious new friend.

Last week was my birthday. One of my dearest friends, Wendy, called offering to take me to lunch and spend the afternoon consignment shopping in Simsbury. I’d never been, but had heard wonderful things about Main Moon, a small Chinese restaurant on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. Everyone should try something new on their birthday.

We approached the door, thinking it was a “sit down” style eatery. We popped our heads in the creaky door and noticed only a few tables, one patron and a busy couple working behind the counter. Before we turned to head back out the door, we heard: “Best Chinese food in Connecticut!”  

An older gentleman at one of the few shabby tables smiled at us above his steaming plate of General Tso's Chicken.  

It was too late to turn back. Although the environment wasn’t exactly what I had expected, we couldn’t walk away and disappoint Main Moon’s most loyal customer. After all, we had intended on trying it and had read and heard wonderful things about it. There was no reason not to squash our original expectations of being waited on, walk our lazy bones to the counter, read and order from the paper menu.

As we glanced over the menu, our new friend continued to rave about how the people of Simsbury love Main Moon, the quality of their food and the restaurateur’s work ethic.  

The conversation bounced back and forth between topics. Laughter and smiles managed to work their way into the introductions.  Wendy and I knew we made the right decision by coming to Main Moon, at least for the experience of meeting our new friend.  

We sat down with our bottled soda and paper napkins to wait while our lunch was prepared behind the counter. The room was bright with natural light. A mounted flat screen television with volume and closed-captioned soap operas (and aging actors I remembered from college) reflected on the screen.  As we waited, Wendy and I noticed a constant and heavy stream of take-out orders.  Customers were familiar with menu items, the owners and the routine. 

Our new friend got up from his table and walked over to ours. His name was George, a very friendly Simsbury resident and Main Moon’s best PR tool. He gushed about the family that now owns the restaurant and raved about their kindness. When George realized it was my birthday, he insisted on paying for our lunch. He skipped over to the counter and took care of our bill. His intentions and generosity were so pure, genuinely wanting to make our afternoon special. He had a twinkle in his eye, a spring in his step. His smile and his aura were infectious.  He grabbed his keys, put on his cap and sunglasses, and was on his way.  

“Happy Birthday and enjoy your lunch, ladies!”

We sat there in awe, almost embarrassed that our original impression of seeing empty seats, a solitary customer confessing his personal testimonial and a soap-opera-blaring television, was capable of swaying our lunch eatery decision.  

Our lunch arrived steaming and fresh. After seeing the constant opening and closing door of customers, we knew why. The vegetables were crunchy, not overcooked. The chicken was lean and seasoned to perfection. Everything was delicious! Since George had paid for our lunch, the owner knew it was my birthday. She brought out a fresh plate of crab rangoon, on the house, as a gift. This extra attention to detail proved the service at Main Moon was birthday, and everyday, worthy. 

It was like a tornado of goodness had randomly placed chunks of kindness in our paths.  After this experience, how could we have not chosen Main Moon?  On my birthday, I’m convinced, any other establishment would have only suffered from comparison.  

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