1 - First Important Lesson -
Cleaning Lady. During my second month
of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student 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 50s, but how would I know her name?
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 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.
2. - Second Important Lesson -
Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30
p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama
highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. 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 1960s. 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 color TV was delivered to
his home. A special note was attached..
It read: "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 just before he passed away... God bless
you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 - 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 is hand out
of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of
ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting
for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she
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 came back, 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.
4 - 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 road where the boulder had been. The
purse contained many gold coins and a note from the 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.
5 - 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 color 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.
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