Can’t you just imagine sitting on this bench in this beautiful setting…a predetermined destination to meet a friend for a movie perhaps, or lunch or dinner, or simply to sit and talk….and maybe share a story?
I woke up yesterday afternoon in my recliner with the story intact…a true story I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I was half-awake and thinking how quickly Thanksgiving would be upon us…when it just popped up out of nowhere. I smiled… those are the best kind of stories to remember. I told it once before…years before on the blog…and here we go again!
Way back in 1991 and 1992 both Honey and I were selected as District Teacher of the Year (me-91′ Honey 92′) and ended up on an executive committee of 14 teachers around the state who planned different conferences for state teachers.
I think the story (I am about to share with you) was told to us from a conference we put on in Charleston, actually, but I could be wrong. One of the other 14 teachers on the committee was a young man who taught special needs children. He was amazing…so full of energy that Honey and I both wished we could cipher some from him!
One evening he told us a story that I have never forgotten and I doubt Honey has either. It is a perfect story for the month of Thanksgiving and gratitude.
Our young friend told us that one time he was presenting at a large conference out of state. It so happened that his presentation was the last one before the final speaker who closed the conference that year. Our friend was on a tight time restriction to get to the airport and fly out that same day…so he wasn’t planning on attending the last session.
He told us he went running out the front of the hotel looking for a cab to take him to the airport…there was not a one to be found. If he didn’t find one soon he would miss his flight. Suddenly this big black limo pulled up to him and asked if he needed a ride to the airport.
He was startled and said he certainly did…but he wasn’t the last presenter and he felt sure the limo was probably for him. The limo driver smiled and said he could easily drop him off and get back for the other speaker. All smiles… our friend chuckled at his good luck and climbed in the back of the limo….thanking the driver profusely for this kind act.
Soon things quieted down in the car and suddenly the limo driver asked about the theme of the conference. Our friend realized he still had a big button on his shirt that encouraged others to ask about the main topic of discussion.
With a grin and much enthusiasm our friend began telling the limo driver about this new learning initiative and he was pleasantly surprised to hear the limo driver responding back with much knowledge on the topic. When asked how he knew so much, the limo driver confessed that he had once been a school teacher, himself, for a few years.
When asked why he left and became a limo driver…the driver’s expression grew serious. He had loved teaching…was married and had three small children. Like most teachers…living on a teacher’s salary was hard but he quickly assured our friend that this was not the reason he left teaching…a part of him missed it every single day.
Frankly, he admitted, he could make more driving the limo than teaching but once again re-iterated that this was not the sole reason he stopped.
Puzzled our friend ask…”Then why?” The limo driver had just pulled over to the curb at the airport…he got out of the car, came around and opened the back door….automatically our friend said “Thank you.” The limo driver stopped and looked him in the eye…”That is why I left teaching.”
Every day every customer I drop off…never fails to say “Thank you” to me. I taught for eight years and I never once had anyone thank me for what I did.
Our friend re-told that story over and over throughout the years about the power of what one small “Thank you” can do for another.
Don’t we all need a “thank you” for what we do? We all want to feel appreciated and needed…we all want to feel that we are contributing something important (at whatever level) to this old world that just keeps spinning and spinning. If we never get that simple but powerful “Thank you” we soon wonder about our own existence and its importance in the scheme of life.
So until tomorrow…During this month of Thanksgiving…let’s start today giving out more thanks….recognizing the people whose jobs often go unnoticed and let them know we recognize the importance of their job to the welfare of others.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
P.S. Thank you dear blog readers for your steadfast support and love…you are my extended family…please never forget that.