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A Simple Choice - Stories of Inspiration, Compassion and Respect
These lessons were passed on to me by a friend, and I was asked to pass them on to my friends. Instead of just hitting the ‘forward’ button, I decided to post them on HubPages for everyone to read. I hope you find them as interesting, poignant, and important as I did.
Whether these are simply folk tales or inspirational stories, I am not certain, but they do serve to remind us how fleeting, fragile and interdependent our lives are. We can spend our time here immersed in our own lives and troubles, or we can step outside our own existence and extend help, comfort, or compassion to others in need of assistance.
It is a simple choice really, and one that is easily and often overlooked. "I'll do it tomorrow - I don't have the time," or other similar excuses masquerading as plausible reasons often keep us from participating - salving our conscious and lulling us into believing there are plenty of others who will step in while we continue on with our important tasks.
It only takes a moment of our time and something as simple as a smile or a pleasant "Isn't it a lovely day," to uplift another person's spirit.
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I am reminded of a morning last month - I was at work, standing in the middle of a residential street, making sure the back-hoe wasn't going to run over a pedestrian. As I guided the lady through the work zone, I smiled and said good morning to her. She was carrying an umbrella (a common sight in the Lower Mainland,) and I mentioned that it was a lovely morning - at least it wasn't raining - and to have a good day.
Not two minutes later, she came back and said "You deserve a hug!" My partner was astounded, (as was I,) and tried to avoid the lady as she reached out and hugged me. The woman then told me how wonderful I was, and thanked me for making her day. She proceeded to tell me that she had been going through a very rough time and my words had inspired an 'epiphany' of sorts, and that she was grateful for being reminded of the positive things she had to be thankful for instead of dwelling on the negative.
I must say, her reaction made my day too!
The cleaning lady
During my friend’s second year of college, her professor gave the class a pop quiz, something that was not out of the ordinary. Being a conscientious student, she breezed through the questions until the last one, which read; “What is the first name of the lady who cleans the school?”
This had to be a trick question. She had seen the woman on many occasions, and knew that she was in her 50’s and had dark hair, but didn’t know her name. When the time came to turn in her paper, she did, leaving the last question blank.
Just before the class ended, one of the other students asked the professor if the last question counted towards the overall mark. The professor replied, “Absolutely! In your careers you will meet many people, and all of them are significant. They deserve your care and attention, even if it is only to smile and say ‘hello’...”
She never forgot that lesson – and the lady’s name was Dorothy.
Pick-up in the rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m. in a terrible rainstorm, an African American woman’s car broke down. Standing by the side of the road, in the pelting rain, she desperately needed a ride, and decided to flag down the next passing motorist to see if they could assist her.
A young white man stopped to help, something that was unheard of in the 1960’s. The man drove her to safety, helped her get assistance for her car and put her in a taxi. She seemed to be in a hurry, but she wrote the man’s address down and thanked him.
A week later, the man answered a knock at his door and was surprised to discover a deliveryman with a giant console TV, with a special note attached. It read, “Thank you for assisting me the other night when I was stranded on the highway. 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.” It was signed, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
Always remember those who serve
Back in the days when ice cream cost a few cents, a 10 year old boy walked into a hotel coffee shop and sat down. The waitress placed a glass of water in front of him and asked what he wanted.
“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.
“Fifty cents,” she replied.
The boy took out his coins and studied them.
“How much for a plain dish of ice cream?” he asked. By now, there were other customers waiting for tables and the waitress was getting impatient.
“Thirty five cents,” she answered abruptly.
The boy counted out his coins again, and said, “I’ll have the plain ice cream please.”
The waitress brought the ice cream, left the bill on the table, and went to serve the other customers. The boy ate his ice cream, paid the cashier, and left. When the waitress came back to clear the table, tears welled up in her eyes. There, neatly placed beside the empty dish were two nickels and five pennies. The boy couldn’t have the ice cream sundae because he had to have enough to leave her a tip.
The obstacle in our path
In ancient times, long ago and far away, a King decided to have a large boulder placed on a roadway. Then he would hide and watch to see if anyone moved it off the road. Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and court members simply walked around it, complaining loudly that the King should have someone remove it as it was blocking the road. Many people walked past, blaming the King for not keeping the roads clear, but did nothing about removing the stone.
One day, a peasant came by with a load of vegetables, on his way to the market. When he got to the boulder, he put his sack down, and proceeded to move the boulder out of the way. It took him quite a while, as the stone was very heavy but after much pushing, he finally succeeded.
As he picked up his sack, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. Inside were many gold coins and a note from the King saying that the person who moved the boulder from the road could keep the gold.
The peasant learned the lesson that few of us ever understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our conditions.
Giving when it counts
A good friend of mine worked as a volunteer in a hospital, (this was many years ago now,) and got to know a young girl, by the name of Lucy, who was a patient there. She was suffering from a rare, life threatening disease, and her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother who had miraculously survived and recovered from the same illness. The doctors were hoping that the antibodies that developed in the brother’s blood would be enough to cure Lucy.
The doctors explained the situation to the little boy, and asked if he would be willing to give his blood help his sister. He only hesitated a moment, then he took a big breath and said if it would save his sister, he would do it.
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in the bed next to his sister’s and smiled as he saw the colour coming back into her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and said in a shaky voice, “Will I start to die right away?”
Being so young, the boy had misunderstood what the doctor had meant, thinking he would have to give all his blood to save his sister.
Many of you have probably read a similar accounting of these 5 simple points, but I didn't think it was repetitious or out of place to be reminded just how important we are to others, even complete strangers. These are definitely excellent guidelines to learn and live by. If more of us followed them, the world could be a nicer, more compassionate place.
It doesn't take much - you can always start with a smile, and go from there...