Learnings for Adults Life
November 25, 2009
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I work in a restaurant that has a program working with ex-cons and the homeless. There is a guy who started working with us as a dish tanker and he told me his story one day.

He lived in Florida, (we are in Ohio now) and he received information that he owed child support on a 6-year-old boy. Well this was news to his ears because he didn’t even know he had a kid! He came to Ohio to clear this matter up and took a DNA test that determined that the kid was his. He was PROMPTLY put in jail for owing over $19,000 in back child support. He stayed in jail for 9 months and when he was released, he was homeless, jobless.

Instead of giving up on his kid and going back to Florida where he had plenty of family and help, he stayed in Ohio and used assistance from the Government to get into a program at the YMCA. He got a job at my restaurant and 3 weeks after getting his job, he met his son for the first time. So, I asked him, “What’s it like living at the YMCA and knowing you have a boy out there?”

He said he stayed in Ohio because he could not bear to leave a piece of himself here undiscovered. He liked living at the YMCA because they were helping him have a relationship with the boy. The only thing he did not like was that he didn’t have a T.V. or a microwave. Therefore, I got on free cycle and I found him a T.V. and a microwave. My friend, Chuckled, gave me a ride to pick up the microwave, and a nice Chinese lady dropped the T.V. off at my house. I took them to work and made this guy’s day. (Eric, is his name BTW and he was grateful.)

A month later, I got called into the office at work the other day. My general manager and an assistant were sitting there wanting to have a “talk” with me. Of course, I was nervous, as you have two people present to get fired, and I was thinking, “What could I have done wrong?”

The general manager, Steve, went into his speech. “Melanie, there was an incident that occurred here around December that involved you. Can you think of what I’m talking about?” I was thinking, and shaking my head, No? In addition, Steve said, “Well it involved you getting a microwave and a T.V. for Eric, do you recall that?” I said, “Yes?”

Steve said, “Once a month we pick an employee who has gone above and beyond to help out a fellow employee or customer. We put their names in a pool and write up reasons why we think this person is deserving. I picked you, because I just thought it was so awesome that you thought of helping someone out just for the sake of being helpful! The General Managers vote on the person they think is most deserving, and you won!”

At this point, I was about to faint because I thought I was getting fired and Steve presented me with a name tag, with MY name especially made just for me!! You may ask, “Why is she so excited that she got a name tag for giving someone a T.V. and a microwave?” My answer? Because it felt good to help someone in need and in the end no matter WHAT the recognition, the point is I was recognized! My good deed produced another one! Good Deeds are contagious!

m/`  Xed some more stuff that I was carrying. Still the satisfaction was a little less. Hence, I decided to buy a good meal and find someone, and give it to that person. I decided to buy dinner for myself but give it to someone needier and miss out my dinner for the day. This was an inspiration I never had before. But, somehow it clicked.

There weren’t any beggars around for the next three or four blocks and I was wondering whom I would give the food to. I found one but he refused to take food, as he needed only money. I found another person, but by the time I could approach him he went away.

But, I had a feeling someone would come. Then, I found a lady sitting on one corner of the road. I asked her if she would like to eat something and she agreed. I told her I would be back just in a moment.  Just opposite to where she sat, I found a good place to buy food. I purchased nice pizza and cake. I went back and gave the entire package to her. I assumed she would be excited and start eating at once but instead she just kept the package and started asking for money. I added some money as well and went off.

After this as I walked home and later I felt a surge of satisfaction I never experienced before. I didn’t feel hungry though I hadn’t eaten much the whole day. This was a unique, deep feeling, I felt a little uplifted from my normal self and very peaceful within.

This is what happens when we give what we actually need. I never got that feeling by doing any other action and I am sure those beautiful moments are worth any sacrifice. What I got was much more than what I gave.

About author

Dr Shailesh Thaker

Dr. Shailesh Thaker is a world-renowned management thinker and trainer on organizational behavior and development. He is the CLO of Knowledge Plus Inc., a highly reputed training firm based in Ahmedabad, India, helping organizations to achieve international benchmarks in management practices.

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