Have you ever been greeted at a restaurant with, “We’ve got another one for you Ryan”? Usually I get, “Hello, welcome to Chili’s!”  Well, there’s a first time for everything and that was the greeting I warmly welcomed along with dozens of others at the Pearland Chili’s on February 13th.  Chili’s graciously hosted a fund raising benefit in Ryan’s honor, donating 10% of all sales to his medical fund “Ryan’s Warriors” to any table with a benefit coupon.  Although generous, this act alone is not what made the night so special.

Ryan, “Ryno”, or “Shorty” – however you personally refer to him, was one of the Chili’s crew that night. Ryan was decked out with an ear piece and mic headset and thrown into the Chili’s communication system where he was given instructions from the staff to help greet, serve, and say his goodbyes to all his “Warriors” in attendance. Good thing he has had a lot of practice with his Xbox Live headset, or maybe he’s just a natural? 

As all of his guests arrived, Ryan hustled and bustled around the restaurant delivering drink orders (non-alcoholic beverages only) and making sure to entertain his guests as only Ryan can, with a sheepish grin and a hidden agenda – to drink as much Dr. Pepper as he could before the bartender cut him off.  Even when nature called he made sure to entrust his headset to me with the strict instructions, “Don’t break it, and don’t tell them I’m in the bathroom!” Unfortunately, Ryan was back just in time to claim his headset before I broke the second rule and blabbed his location – the kid has impeccable timing!  Ryan also made a few new friends that night, perhaps more at the request of his sister, Lauren. Ryan’s attempt at being Lauren’s “wingman” to the table of three boys sitting behind us was shot down pretty quickly as nothing gets past Mike’s keen hunting eye, especially when Ryan didn’t even try to hide that he was taking pictures of them with Lauren’s cell phone!

All in all, Ryan fit right in to the hectic restaurant scene that night – of course it helps when it’s all about him to begin with. He had a permanent smile on his face and a laugh in his voice as he bounced from table to table ensuring all his “Warriors” were taken care of.  Chili’s raised $360 and an additional $173 was collected in cash donations for Ryan’s Warriors.  Plus, all the excitement helped enlist some new bone marrow donor swab volunteers. Most importantly, it was a night for and about Ryan where he stole the show and had more than his 15 minutes of fame!