Finding Hope

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It was not my first time in a casino. Having been to Lake Tahoe a few times I was aware of what they were like. So making my first time in Las Vegas, I was not naïve; I was aware of what to expect. However, I was not prepared for the emotional reaction I would have to what I saw.

Walking around the casino floor, offering free drinks to gamblers, were the cocktail waitress, almost all of whom were wearing little more than lingerie. I felt embarrassed for them. They way they were required to dress seemed, to me, humiliating. I wondered if these women had lost all dignity. The expressions on their faces gave me little reason to believe otherwise; they appeared devoid of joy. At best the impression I saw was that to them what they did was just a job and they ignored the rest. One of my friends said it reminded him of the slaves in the south before the Civil War (Vegas Baby Vegas). How could a woman have respect for herself under these conditions? My natural inclination was to want to do something to change it. But how? I have not been placed in the necessary position. Consequently, I felt overwhelmed. The condition seemed hopeless.

By the end of the week I had given up hope; I figured all was lost. That was when God surprised me again. On my last day, as I was walking through a casino on my way to a buffet for dinner, I saw something unexpected. In front of me was a young cocktail waitress, probably in her mid 20’s. She stopped to talk briefly with an older man who apparently was waiting for someone. His grandson, maybe a year old, was sitting next to him in a stroller. As I passed them by, I saw the waitress bend down and talk to the baby. I saw her smile at the boy.

I’d seen the waitresses smile, but this one was different. The other smiles were friendly smiles but this one was a genuinely happy one—the kind that is contagious. For the first time, that week, I was able to clearly see more than just a cocktail waitress. I saw a human being. In that brief moment I realized that there is hope. Even in the darkest places and the at the darkest moments, there is still hope for humanity.

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