Doing a small favor for a worthy person got me fired one time but I am still a big believer in small favors. We receive so few big favors in life that small ones probably enrich the quality of our lives more than the big ones.
We take our dominant skills for granted, seldom thinking of how few people possess them. Writing has always come easy for me and it was my writing skills that got me fired.
I was weekend guard at the old Hamilton Bank Building. One of my duties was taking the cleaning crews from floor to floor throughout the night. One of the men was unable to read and write and had met a lady on a church trip. He wanted to keep in touch with her and to choose the time he would tell her he was illiterate. I agreed to type a letter for him. I messed up a page and threw it in the trashcan.
The next morning my boss called me and told me to come to his office. He asked, “Mr. Roberts, are you having an affair?” I told him I was not but it would be no business of his if I was and asked why he asked me such a personal question. He said he found a sheet of paper in a waste can. I realized it was the discarded sheet I was writing for the man in the clean-up crew.
I told him the truth – that I was writing a letter for a man who could not read nor write and he demanded to know who it was, saying he would fire me if I didn’t tell him. I just laid my keys on his desk and walked out.
Not even this experience soured me on doing small favors. No small favor is in vain when it causes you to lose a bad boss and gain a loyal friend.
A friend of mine goes to a church with a lot of widows. He does their little home repair jobs for them. It reminds me of those words, “Whatsoever you do for the least, you do unto me.”
Redbird Clingan and I were playing a benefit for a lady with cancer. A man was so impressed with one song that he came up and gave Redbird a $10 bill for one of his tapes. Redbird handed him back his $10 bill and said, “Go put that in the basket for the lady who has cancer.” I knew he was broke because I had bought our breakfast that morning. Yet he was willing to do a small favor for a more needy person.
These are the gifts we can give almost any day. They give us more than we give. The feeling in our hearts when we give something small from our dominant talent pool fulfills us in a special way.
A man who knew one little thing about cars saved a black lady with four children and me one hot July day. She had those four children in a car on Amnicola with a flat tire on a blistering hot day. I was down in my back and wearing a corset for pain relief but I stopped to change her tire. I kept trying to position the jack under the axle and it kept slipping off. A good man stopped and said, “Dalton, can I help?” I told him I couldn’t find a place to put the jack and he showed me a little metal nipple that fit perfectly into a notch on the jack. In no time she was back on the road.
When you know something that will save an arthritic old man in a corset and a mother with four children, think of the power of your small favor. In some way, you, too, have similar power and can experience the joy of bestowing it on someone today.
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