I've received quite a few request to repost one of my first blogs ever. So here ya go!
GIVE TO GIVE. DON’T GIVE TO GET.
Highland Park is a very affluent suburb of Dallas, Texas. I don’t live there, but I live close enough to call Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman my neighbor. It only seems to be about ten city blocks in size, but they have their own police force fully equipped with amazing pimped out Chevy Tahoe’s. None of which would show up to my house if I’m getting raped on my front lawn … because I’m a block out of their jurisdiction.
The city itself has their own rules. No business signs above a certain hight, stuff like that. Every week I see the Maids of the wealthy – dressed in scrubs, standing on the side of the road waiting for their bus. I’ve always felt sorry for these women because there is no place for them to sit. When I went through the proper channels and offered to provide benches, I was politely turned away. The reason – It’s simple really, the benches would be an eyesore to this beautifully landscaped slice of heaven.
For some stupid reason I felt better because I thought I had done all I could do. That is until last week. Winter arrived with a cold bitch slap. With windchill in the single digits and freezing rain punching my windshield, I was headed south on Preston Rd. It’s the busiest street in Highland Park because it’s the only road that runs right through the heart of the city. Night was quickly approaching and I could see out of the corner of my right eye a hispanic women standing in the sleet after a long hard day of work. She was wearing scrubs under a jacket not made for this type of weather. No doubt it was the only jacket she owned. As I passed her and drove down the street, I was positive her bus would be there in a any minute. As I drove one more block, I was still hoping that her bus would be right around the corner. As another block passed, I was feeling a little uncomfortable and I knew that she would be on my mind all night if I didn’t have the answer. Headed back to where she was standing, I was praying that she wouldn’t be there and that all I would see would be the tail lights of her ride home.
“When is your bus supposed to get here?”
“Soon.” She replied. I could tell she wasn’t expecting to have a conversation until she got home to her children. But I wasn’t going to just let her stand there.
“Can I get you a cab?” I said with legitimate concern.
“I’m fine sir.” She yelled back in her heavy accent.
“No you’re not.You’re freezing! You can have a seat until your bus gets here.”
“I’m good.” She replied.
She wasn’t buying it and I didn’t know what to do. Maybe one final plea would do the trick. . “I’m going to be honest. I’m mad that they don’t have covered benches here. There’s no need to be afraid of me. I just can’t stand to see someone standing out in the cold.”
Her gut instinct was right. I was someone she could trust and she accepted my offer. Despite the fact we had to sometimes concentrate on what each other was saying, we still enjoyed some small talk. It wasn’t awkward at all and in less than ten minutes her bus had arrived. She shook my hand and gave me a warm thank you.
Driving home I got really pissed at her employer. How could they not get her a cab or drive her to the bus stop? What a bunch of rich assholes. I had something similar happen to me when I was fifteen, so I don’t think my getting her out of the cold was any great act of kindness. I didn’t do this to have good karma. I did it because it was right.
There are so many ways to give. Cash is super obvious, but I find giving in other ways much more powerful. Compliments, holding doors open, a kind word of encouragement to a co-worker or a simple gesture like calling on your way home to see if anyone needs anything from the store.
We all know people who do this without thought. They don’t do it to get something in return. I’m sure their selfless acts have inspired you on some level. Start small and start now. Look for opportunities to help. You’ll be amazed how your whole world will open up. You’ll notice people treating you differently, your confidence will soar and you’ll be right in line to accept some great experiences into your life. Before you know it, you’ll feel more alive. It’s a chain reaction that never ends.
Please let me know how this makes you feel. I’d love to share your story.