Thursday, August 23, 2012

Engaging Life's Magic...Part II

 Five Lessons About the Way We Treat People

First Important Lesson ~ Cleaning Lady:
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. 
A conscientious student I was, and had breezed through the questions until
I read the last one: 
           “What  is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times.
She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's.  I handed in my paper, leaving the last
question blank.  Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question
 would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor.  “In your careers, you will meet many people. 
All are very significant.  They deserve your attention and care...even if all you  do
is Smile and say Hello.”

I've never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her Name was Dorothy.

Second Important Lesson ~ Pickup in the Rain:
One night at 11:30 pm, an older African American woman was standing 
on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm.   
Her car had broken  down and she desperately needed a ride.   
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those 
conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance 
and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. 
Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door.  To his surprise,
a giant console television was delivered to his home.  A special note was attached. 
“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.
The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits.
Then you came along! Because of you, I was able to make it
to my dying husband's bedside before he passed away.
God Bless you for helping me and  unselfishly serving others.
Sincerely ...
Mrs. Nat  King Cole”

The foregoing recalls to memory an occasion when I was teaching  in Hamilton 
and driving my marine blue MGB back home  to Burlington.  I was travelling along 
the 403 en route to the end of the city “to pickup my little boy” staying at Sharon's 
place during my teaching hours.  Unexpectedly, I ran out of gas!'

What should I do?  Was it safe enough for a woman to flag down a motorist 
along this busy-traffic-highway?  (If I had a cell telephone, I'd call CAA or the police...
this was prior to CT technology).  Do I hang out a sign or “thumb a ride”?  
 Decision was to open the hood of my car and wait beside it. In a few minutes, 
a vehicle stopped with two men who had attended a conference in Niagara Falls 
and returning home to Toronto.

They were SO  KIND!  Driving me to the nearest gas station off the 403, 
they waited until a container was filled with gas, then drove me back to my MGB. 
They even poured the fuel into my tank and waited to ensure my car started. 
I thanked them profusely for their assistance. One gentleman commented that
something similar had happened to his wife.  To him, this was now  
 “a return gesture and grateful to assist a woman in distress.  
 I have never forgotten  his statement...since then I have freely offered service(s)
 to anyone in need.

Third Important Lesson ~ Always Remember Those Who Serve:
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered
a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.  A waitress put a glass of water in front 
of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.  “Fifty cents”, 
replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his  pocket and studied 
the coins in it.
“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he enquired.  
By now, more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing 
impatient.  “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.  The little boy again 
counted his coins.   “I'll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress 
brought  the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.

The  boy finished the ice cream,  paid the cashier and left.   
When the waitress returned, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. 
There,  placed neatly beside the empty dish were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn't have the sundae,
because he had to have enough left to leave  her a tip.

Fourth Important Lesson ~ The Obstacle in Our Path:
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a  roadway.   
Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.  
 Some of the King's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by 
and simply walked around it.  Many loudly  blamed the King  for not keeping 
the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. 
Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden 
and tried to move the stone to the side of the road,  After much pushing and 
straining, he finally succeeded.  After the peasant picked up his load of 
vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the roadwhere the boulder had been.   
The purse contained  many gold coins and a note fromthe King indicating 
that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder  from the roadway.   
The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
         Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition!

My third  floor apartment overviews a few trees, hydro and telephone poles 
and wires, and a  grassy area adjacent to a paved bike-walkway path.   
On the other side is more green grass  and family town homes.  
Where the path meets the street, are two curved concrete areas 
with benches and an attractive container holding a garbage can.

On this morning, I noticed that someone had foolishly and purposely 
dumped the garbage contents onto the path several feet from the container.   
There lay an absolute mess...of bottles, loose paper, smaller tied bags   
and probably baggies of doggie  poop together with the garbage can 
lying on its side!

A man walking his golden lab stopped...surveyed this mess...then ordered 
his dog  to sit and still holding the leash in his left hand, proceeded with his 
right hand to...upright the garbage pick up every item to replace in the can...
when completed, he carried the garbage can to its rightful container...
and closed the lid!  I am confident other neighbours observed this good-will action...
and if I ever see him again, will commend him for it!

“Who could be so stupid?” I am sure he asked himself, as I did!
He and his dog continued their daily I observed the mourning dove 
incubating her two white eggs in the twiggy nest  built 
on a black wrought iron balcony chair.

Fifth Important Lesson ~ Giving When It Counts:
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, 
I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare 
and serious disease.   Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a 
blood transfusion from her 5-year-old-brother, who had miraculously  
 survived the \same disease and had developed the antibodies needed 
to combat the illness.   The doctor explained the situation to her little 
brother, and asked  the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood 
to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath 
and saying,  “Yes, I'll do it if it will save her.”  As the transfusion progressed, 
he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour 
returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile  faded.   
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice,
“Will I start to die right away?”
(Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor;
he thought he was going to have to give his sister 
all of his blood in order to save her.)

(Author unknown)

Most importantly, remember:  “Live with no regrets.
                                          Treat people the way you want to be treated.
                                          Work like you don't need the  money.
                                          Love like  you've never been hurt.
                                          Dance like you do when nobody's watching!"

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written March 26, 2012
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