Posts Tagged With: selflessness

A World of #cultureofcharacter

Before the housing bubble implosion, I worked with a real estate appraiser as an apprentice. My boss and I drove in her new hybrid car to Las Vegas for an appraisers convention.

I wouldn’t describe the drive as scenic. Far from it. The one highlight I remember appeared in a yard just on the outskirts of a tiny town that boasted life-sized rusty metal sculptures of animals, a giraffe being the most memorable.

Vegas was meh. I’m not a big fan.

Here’s where the story gets interesting.

By Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Pretty much this was the view. By Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

On the way home from Vegas, about forty-five miles either way to a town, in the middle of desert and sagebrush, my boss looked at her gas gauge, gasped and said, “We forgot to get gas before leaving Vegas!” She all but slammed on the brakes mid road.

I leaned over to look at the gauge, thinking she was overreacting and saw the needle pointed solidly at the “Empty” side.

“Oh, crap,” I replied. Or something along those lines.

Nowadays, you’d just whip out your smart phone, find the nearest gas station and turn around or head forward. Or your car tells you how many miles you have left before you run out of gas.

All we had eight years ago was a map book, a cell phone and no cell coverage. We weren’t really sure where on the map we were. We’d also, apparently brought along some overconfidence it had just flown out the window.

My boss wanted to turn around and go back. I voted we keep moving forward. Either way we were surely going to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, in the heat. And when we ran out of gas we’d be on a two lane road with almost no shoulder.


A few miles ahead we pulled into a sad excuse for a rest area. “Better to stop here, than be stuck on the side of the road,” my boss explained. There was one other car parked there. “I’m going to go have a chat with the person in that car,” she said as she climbed out.

My boss never shied away from a situation, but I thought she might be pushing her luck. She talked for about five minutes. When she got back in the car here’s the story she told me.

The person in the car was a younger woman. She was at the rest area because it was a half-way point between where her ex-husband dropped off her son at her Dad’s place and her home near Vegas. Her Dad drove her son to the rest area and that’s where mom and child reunited.

The young woman said her Dad owned a tow-truck but he’d probably be just in his regular car and that he could go get gas and bring it back to us after he dropped her son off.

That’s doable. We’d survive. Yay!

Still it’d be a long time waiting in the car in the desert. I got out, wandered around. Sitting in the partial shade on a rickety over-painted picnic table, the wind sucking the moisture out of my skin, I wished for Star Trek transporter technology and wondered what my kids were doing.

We sat waiting another half-hour or so when in pulls a tow-truck.

Not the actual tow truck, just a photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Not the actual tow truck, just a photo from Wikimedia Commons.


The truck pulled up next to the other car and the young woman hops out, gets a huge hug from a cute little blond boy and then hefts him on her hip as she chats with the guy behind the steering wheel. She points over at us, talks a bit more and then puts her son in her car. As the tow-truck pulls past us she walks over and says, “That’s my Dad. He decided to drive the tow-truck today. Lucky, huh? He’s just going to turn around and back in, then you can just drive up to the ramp, he’ll winch the car on, lock ‘er down and he’ll give you a ride to the gas station.”


Lucky, huh?

Felt like more than luck. Felt like hitting the jackpot.

Apparently, we’d stopped about sixty miles from the nearest gas station. Glad my boss had pulled over. Turned out she wasn’t nuts, just inspired.

And the tow-truck driver? Nice guy, pleasant to chat with. He hadn’t had a lot of business lately and thought maybe if he drove the truck, even though it cost more in gas to drive it without a call to respond to, he might get lucky and run into someone who needed a tow or get a call while on the road. “Every little bit helps,” he said.

And yet, as he dropped us off right in front of a gas pump, he refused to accept the money my boss offered him. “I was in the area and I’m just glad I could help you ladies out today.” And off he drove, into the sunset, every bit a knight in shining armor. It wasn’t really sunset, but that’s how I chose to remember it anyway.

A person of character and class? Absolutely.

People like that restore my faith in the human race. It happens more often than we hear about.

I’d like to hear about it more.

What do they call that? Random Acts of Kindness? Tender Mercies? Karma? Grace? Charity? Selflessness?

Whatever name you give it the effect remains the same. Troubles alleviated, hearts lifted, humanity redeemed a little more.


I have a friend who tweets #cultureofcharacter followed by a description of kind acts and observations. I’d love for that to go viral. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t it be something to log on and see a massive list at the end of every day of things people saw or did or heard about that showed class and character in the actions and words of the people around them?

Small moves, tiny acts, they make all the difference in a world run amok.

It’s certainly works that way in my world.

How about yours?

I’ll be watching for your tweets.

This book will surprise you. It's where the phrase "culture of character" originated.

This is where the phrase “culture of character” originated.

#cultureofcharacter: an idea from the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Categories: good ideas, Hope, People, The World | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Will Do It For You

Recently discovered this song by Phillip Phillips.

Still resonating in my head and in my heart. I think it hits home, plucks those chords running through who I am. It reminds me of all the people I love so dearly. It recalls the love I’ve received so selflessly over the years in spite of it all.

The video adds another dimension of meaning and beauty.  I’ve included the lyrics afterwards so you can really catch the meat of it all.

Thanks to such wonderful artists who had a hand in this one. It’s all you, I’m just happy to share the splendor of what you do.

Phillip Phillips Gone, Gone, Gone is a track from his début album “The World from the Side of the Moon”.

When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight if you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe to make you well, to make you well
When enemies are at your door I’ll carry you way from more
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well

Give me reasons to believe that you would do the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet
And if your heart is empty
Not a thing will prevent me
Tell me what you need, what do you need

I surrender honestly
You’ve always done the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

You’re my back bone, you’re me cornerstone
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving
You’re my headstart, you’re my rugged heart
You’re the pokes that I’ve always needed
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating

For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long, long after you’re gone

Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you
And long after you’re gone gone gone
I love you long after you’re gone gone gone


Categories: Love, Music | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Those Who Put the Care in “Health Care”

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful to those people who learn the hard words, study for years, understand anatomy and biology and math and science and medicine to become doctors and nurses and technicians and clinicians and caregivers in hospitals and medical facilities.

LTD_Clincal_0019 Stethescope

There’s no way to thank someone enough for the hours and years they have dedicated to excelling in their field.  Having the life of a person as your responsibility must weigh heavily every day. Knowing what steps to take, what tests to run, how to help, where to go, what’s next must feel stunning.  Having the guts and knowledge to cut open a skull, break open a chest, or work on the miracle that is the human body simply amazes me.

How thankful I am this week for all the doctors, medics, nurses, therapists, anyone responsible in any way for saving my Mother’s life. Gratitude pumps through my veins this week. I breathe in thanks and exhale hallelujahs.

She continues to progress with stunning rapidity. (Yay, Mom! You go girl!)

I want to hug every doctor or nurse I see, every med student, EMT, phlebotomist, x-ray tech, even receptionists, to vicariously share the inexpressible gratitude I feel to those who worked directly on and in behalf of my Mother.

If you are in the medical field, this thanks is to you, for your selflessness, the hours of paperwork, your kindness and diligence, and your skill.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fighting Fire and Loss

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for firefighters. I stand in awe of such willingness to rush into danger, the unknown and the chaotic.

On several occasions they brought relief and reassurance, along with their skills and knowledge.

Firemen at work

Firemen at work (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My son was still an infant being cared for during the day by my mother when a house fire broke out in midwinter in their home. I raced from work to the home I’d grown up in, all the while seeing a pillar of black smoke marking my destination. The roads were snow packed and icy in our neighborhood and blocked off by the police. As I ran the last two blocks to my childhood home, the smoke changed from black to gray to white. I ran beside huge hoses pulsing with much-needed water to douse the flames.

I stood by  helplessly at the neighbor’s home across the street as a gaping hole over the garage and kitchen smoked and sputtered in the huge sprays of water from those hoses. How grateful I felt then that someone had trained and prepared and was willing to help in such an emergency. Thanks to the quick response of the firefighters that day, more than half of the house survived the fire so Mom and Dad rebuilt.

Later one of my brothers became a firefighter. I learned through him how often these men and women show up for emergencies real and perceived. I learned how much of the job is psychologically difficult, seeing such suffering, dealing with death regularly, working with loss and heartache and tragedy. I gained even greater respect for firefighters as I saw things a bit more through his eyes. He became a hero to me.

My own children have needed the resources and cool-headed quick response of these angels. Twice they have come to my home for different reasons and both times treated me and my family with kindness, reassurance, professionalism, honesty and courtesy beyond what one might expect in an emergency. They also bring with them a feeling of hope that’s difficult to describe.

Just two years ago there were angels and heroes of all sorts, firefighters included, who saved my son from a car fire.

I have a dear friend (who helped save my son) who needed these resources three times in one month. Once for a house fire, then a week later for her husband who fell off the roof . The third time the firefighters arrived at the same grocery store to shop where she had been the moment she learned her little sister had committed suicide a few days earlier. Like angels they talked with her as she walked inside, heard her story, offered condolences and made her feel safe and cared for. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Firefighters prepare for prescribed burn

(Photo credit: Coconino National Forest)

This weeks horrendous loss of almost an entire crew of firefighters clutches at my heart and takes the breath right out of me.

Where does such tenacity and courage come from? What kind of person willingly goes in toward what others are running from?

If words could bestow honor and gratitude worthy of such people I would pour out volumes. But words seem inadequate in the face of such sadness and loss. My condolences to their families. My thanks to them and all their brothers and sisters who give and serve so selflessly.

Categories: Death, Gratitude, Gratituesday, Hope | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: