Just a little smiley story, on a cold night in Pennsylvania.
Our local senior center has a music jamboree every weekend. Musicians sometimes travel long distances to come and play and people come from our town and some also travel long distances to hear the music, and have an inexpensive social evening. We have a huge kitchen at the center, where meals are served to members on the week days.
Members volunteer in the kitchen during the jamboree, selling simple foods: hot dogs, soup, coffee, snacks. It’s all a nice evening that brings in lots of people. I go once a month to work in the kitchen, and really enjoy it, cos all the people are so nice. It’s a good fund raiser for the center, and a good time for all.
Last week I saw a man who’s semi-famous around here come in. He’s very old now, but for many years he was the fire chief at one of our (all volunteer) fire companies, and also went to many local problems and disasters to help direct traffic. If there was a wreck or a water break, or anything going on in a town street, there he was, doing whatever he could to help with the situation.
He never knew me, but from his picture always being in the newspaper, I’ve known who he is for 30 or so years. Let’s just call him John Doe…….
He walked up to the kitchen counter where we sell the food, while I was standing there talking to a friend who was also volunteering. I looked up at him and said: Well it’s John Doe! And what can we get for you John?
They say a person’s name is always the most important words for them to hear. He looked at me a little puzzled, cos obviously I knew him but he didn’t know me. Then a big smile came over his face as I started to explain to my friend, who didn’t come from around here, that John is pretty famous around here for many years of good service to our town in the fire department and other good deeds. Then his smile got bigger, and bigger……and I asked, how many years was your good service, John?
This is a humble man who always just did good works and never asked for any recognition. But the smile continued as he said he was involved with the fire department for 66 years. My friend then started asking him a couple questions and he enjoyed answering them.
He wanted coffee and I got that for him, and as he was walking away, I said: John, thank you for your service. He looked back and smiled a smile that was beautiful. Maybe it had been a long time since anybody pointed out how valuable his time working for us had been. Maybe he thought people had forgotten. I guess he sure didn’t expect to have a stranger call him by name, and describe a life of doing great things for others and his town.
Sometimes you can make a person’s day by a simple gesture, and this was as good for me as it was for him, seeing his reaction. Just a smiley story……and so important.