Two simple rules for a better world
After the race, I asked my six year old if he would like to see some of the local sites where dad grew up. He was more than up for it and was excited to take the tour.
The first stop on our journey was my grandfather’s house.
My 94-year old grandfather is still mobile and actively collects junk that he strips down to materials that he sells. Despite this, he’s unfortunately at a point in his life where, due to age and circumstances, he has found himself mostly alone.
Now, when we were driving by his house on Saturday, he happened to be outside taking apart a radiator. Although we were in a hurry to get back to the city, we agreed to stop and say hi. It had been quite a while since I had last seen him so it took him a minute for him to get his bearings but, once he had, he remembered me, my wife’s name and my son’s name (who he had never met before this moment).
One thing led to another and we agreed to stay and grab lunch with him. He regaled us with stories of his youth and his life’s experiences through the many years. I learned things I hadn’t known before about him and my mother and it was interesting to hear these stories – although sometimes difficult at times to piece together as his voice didn’t carry very far and the stories sometimes carried both far and wide before coming home to the point.
As we were coming to the close of lunch, he said something to me that will stay with me for a while. He looked over at me, started shaking and said, “Peter, I’m so happy right now I could break down and cry.”
Damn. That was powerful.
For me, it really drove home two things that are important to remember as we deal with others either personally or in business:
- It doesn’t take much to be kind to people.
- We can never tell what impact that kindness will have.
It’s easy in the increasingly busy lives that we live to forget these points.
In our hurry to get back to the city to resume our lives, it would have been nearly as easy to keep driving as to stop. I’m thankful we stopped.
And I’m thankful that my grandfather is still around to remind me of something so essential.