Integrity Matters
July 27, 2005

An act of kindness will make your day

Question: (E-198)

Dear Jim:

I am tired of reading about lying, murder and stealing. Does anyone still do good deeds?


Illustrations abound confirming the goodness of people. First, graciousness still pays dividends. On April 27, during heavy rain showers, a business associate joined me for breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Carmel Valley. Following a 90-minute business meeting, over breakfast, we exited the restaurant. Not yet ready to dodge the raindrops, I waited while my friend rushed to his car, only to watch him return to the front door, speechless. Well, not exactly in silence. He had left the lights on and his battery was dead. Having no jumper cables in my car, and there being none in his, the obvious answer was roadside assistance.

Assured he had the situation well in hand, I headed toward the offices of the Bracher Center to deal with the day's challenges. Thirty minutes later, the phone rang and it was the "dead battery" man, sounding upbeat.

His "Good Samaritan" involved the owner-manager of the restaurant. She suggested he not phone for assistance, but instead threw on her jacket, went out in the increasingly heavy rainstorm, moved her vehicle (which did have jumper cables) and made sure my friend's automobile started. He thanked her, headed to his next appointment and phoned me with the good news.

Acts of kindness are good to share. When he told me of his experience, he made my day better, and maybe my retelling it here will make yours better. Graciousness improves lives. How many more times will this gentleman and others (including me) choose the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Carmel Valley? Yes, integrity pays, over and over.

The second example confirms that real wisdom is the constructive use of energy. One evening a wise grandmother told her grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. She said, "Dear child, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandmother: "Which wolf wins?"

The grandmother replied, "The one you feed."

President Abraham Lincoln is given credit for this observation: "After the age of 40, individuals are responsible for their own faces."

Mr. Lincoln knew that who we are and how we feel, on the inside, is what will show on our faces. Over the years it adds up. Are you, in your heart and soul, a giver or a taker? In my experience, givers are more attractive as they get older. Since we cannot control the years, we can manage our attitudes.

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