Morning Dan

For the last 15 years, I've worked in the kitchen at a local university. One of the guys that was there when I started was Dan, he had already been working there for over 35 years.
Dan was a big gruff guy, kind of intimidating, but when you got to know him you discovered that he had a huge heart. It was like someone said at his funeral, he was a grizzly bear until you got to know him, then you realized he was really a teddy bear.

Working there was his life, he started when he was 15 and I think it was the only job he ever had. I use to joke with him that when he died we were going to bury him out back under the big tree.

Anyway about five years ago Dan died of cancer. We all knew it was coming but we still couldn't believe it. Although he was much older than me and we weren't really "friends" his death hit me hard.

After Dan died, I use to get the feeling that someone was watching me. When it was slow, out of the corner of my eye, I could almost see him there, with his arms folded on the counter (the counter and window are about chest high) leaning through the window wanting to talk to me. So I started talking to him, telling him good morning and teasing him like in the old days, whenever I felt him around.

A couple of years after he died I had to transfer to another area of the kitchen, although I was still on the morning shift, 5am, dark and early. Co-workers came and went and now there's not too many people around who still remember Dan.

I have a co-worker now, Mark, who has been there about six months who was asking me a while back if the place was haunted. Mark literally lives out in the middle of nowhere. Mark lives on a ranch he inherited from his family, he has no wife, children, girlfriends, pets, or farm animals and is miles from the nearest neighbor.
Mark said "You know, I'm used to being alone, I live out in the middle of nowhere and I'm not freaked out by it at all, but when I come in here in the morning, it feels like someone is here, like I'm not alone." I confirmed his suspicions and told him about Dan, I was actually kind of relieved that he had verified what I had been thinking for years.

The funny thing is around the same time we had that conversation I had an incident with Dan.

I was getting pans out for my set up, they were on the top shelf, and putting them on my cart when it felt like someone flicked the bottom of the pocket on my chef jacket and my pen and thermometer came flying out and landed on the floor. Both of these items have clips on them, so although they occasionally fall out when you are bending over, they don't fall out when you are standing up. Additionally, I physically felt someone flick the bottom of my pocket. So I said, "Very funny Dan, that was cute!" Immediately I felt Dan laughing, it was the strangest sensation, it was such a joke to him.
That was Dan, no one laughed at his jokes louder than he did!
I have to admit though, I do like it when he stops by to visit.

Submitted by Vieve, USA