Serve with integrity. Care about those you serve. Share the love in your heart & soul.

Friday, October 30, 2009

#650 An Open Note to Eric

It was just last weekend (October 24th) that we were in Ann Arbor, MI. We were there for the Penn State, Michigan football game. It was a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Not quite the perfect weather for football, but it would have to do.

While returning from our vehicle with a cloth to put on the bench in the stadium I met Eric. People meet each other for specific reasons. Sometimes you have to ponder the encounter to learn what the reason is. Usually you learn something from the other. This encounter proved most interesting. It has taken me this long to cogitate about it and try to make some sense of it.

We were parked on the grounds of the university golf course just South of the stadium, the Big House. There were people tailgating there from both schools. Naturally there were more from Michigan than Pennsylvania. Everyone I met had been quite friendly. That is until I met Eric. His opening comment had something to do about my disrespecting Ann Arbor, the University, the golf course, and by inference, him. His opening comments had the "f" word sprinkled liberally through his discourse. There was no escaping him. Something told me to take some time to listen to whom, perhaps to get to know him. I'm glad I did.

Thanks, Eric. I learned some things from you and about you. Perhaps you learned some things from and about me. I do know you probably had more beer than I had.

I learned about respect, loyalty, family, meeting others, compassion, etc.

I learned this about you:
  • Your age - 33
  • You're married.
  • Your family - three children, two girls and a boy, the oldest 11
  • Your work - mechanic and recently laid off from an auto factory
  • You work from 9-5 Monday through Friday
  • You're wife is a nurse and works 1900 to 0700 on weekends at a local hospital.
  • You're proud that your children have a parent at home with them all of the time
  • You're fiercely loyal to your family, city, state and sports teams
  • You're a golfer, too
  • You ride bikes to just about every place you go.
  • You are willing to stand up for what you believe
I know that as we stood in the cold drizzle and I learned more about you, I was glad to get to know the caring Eric rather than the Eric filled with beer bravado. Perhaps you learned some things about me:
  • I'm more than twice your age
  • Taller than you by a couple of inches
  • Heavier than you by more than ten pounds
  • Out of shape
  • Married
  • Have three daughters
  • Play golf
  • Was willing to listen
Perhaps you heard the idea of serving with integrity, caring about those you serve and sharing the love in your heart/soul.

Perhaps you heard a way to deal with children as the grow into the age of reason and want your permission to do things.

Perhaps you heard that getting them to tell you what it will take to make it happen will bring you closer to each other.

Perhaps you remembered to hit the first shot from the tee on your next golf outing for me.

Perhaps you learned that to respect others you have to first respect yourself.

I learned that you are a good, caring man. While our encounter didn't begin on a friendly basis, it ended on one. At least it did for me.

So, thanks again, Eric. I wouldn't have missed our paths crossing for anything.



Sandee said...

You are much nicer than I am. I would have moved on after the first 'f' word. I don't have the time or patience with bores. Just my humble opinion. Oh wait...I worked in law enforcement for 25 years. That's why I would have moved on. I've been called everything in the book.

I'm glad this experience was rewarding for you. What a nice post of patience on your part.

Have a terrific day. :)

Karen said...

There needs to be more people in this ole world like you, Jack.

I vant you to have a ver-y scar-y day!


Puss-in-Boots said...

D'you know what, Jack? You could teach a lot of people a thing or two...myself included. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to Eric, but I don't think it would have been as you did.

You've taught me something...thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack ~~ Well done on the good post and for being so kind to Eric who at
first didn't seem to deserve your taking the time with him. So you have taught us all a lot. Thank you my friend.
Glad you enjoyed the little girl praying and I am glad your weekend was pleasant. But Oh all those leaves --5 bags full. I loved the joke in your last post. I hope this goes tonight.
Take care, Kindest regards, Merle.