I once worked for a gentleman who will remain unnamed. A soldier in World War II, he had experienced many adventures and had amazing stories to share. My favorite tales were about his duty in Africa and courting his soon-to-be wife, who was a nurse in the service at the same time as he. He made everyone feel good just by being in the same room with him. He was calm and peaceful, never boisterous. He was not the kind of man that would betray your trust and had no ulterior motive or hidden agenda for being nice to you. He conversed in a soft, thoughtful voice and listened when you spoke with a slight smile and an arched brow. He punctuated his responses with an occasional eruption of belly laughter that made you feel as if you’d made his day.
The first time this gentleman tasted my cheesecake he remarked how much it reminded him of some he had eaten in a restaurant in New York. We had a good giggle and a "no wonder" when I revealed to him that it was their recipe that I had used.
His life had been long and full of hard work and fine achievements. After leaving the military, he settled down with his wife and they had two children. He went to work as an executive at a major corporation and later was given a local distributorship by a gentleman that had so many, he couldn’t handle them all. Beginning his new business he unloaded his products by hand from railroad cars into a small warehouse. By the time he handed over the business to his two children, he owned two distributorships that had become state-of-the-art complexes boasting spotless fleets of delivery trucks and vans driven and maintained proudly by loyal and happy employees.
At 7:00 a.m. each weekday, my boss met up with his buddies at a downtown restaurant where they had breakfast and coffee. These men enjoyed the daily camaraderie and solving the problems of the world over their plates and cups. In the news one particular day, they read that the local center that facilitated daily programs and activities for mentally retarded adults had been broken into once again. There wasn’t much of monetary value for a thief to take, but the damage done to the building each time was painful to their budget. I wasn't aware that the coffee club had pooled their efforts and made a whopping donation to the center. Their generosity was revealed to me when a newspaper reporter called our workplace and left a message asking if my unnamed gentleman could show up to have his photo made with the group presenting their check to the director of the damaged center. When he came into the office later that morning, I handed him the message with the reporter’s contact information. He lifted his bifocals to his nose, blushed profusely and hurried straight for his office with keys and coins jangling in his pocket. I noticed his extension button on the switchboard lit immediately after I heard the sound of his door closing. The next morning a photo appeared in the newspaper with all of the donors and their names and a short story about why these men had made their donation. Missing from the photo and the story was any reference whatsoever to my boss. I smiled to myself realizing, that’s the way he wanted it.
They don’t make them like him anymore. I wonder just how many good deeds he performed in his lifetime. He shared himself with all of us who knew him in the most unselfish manner possible. He set the ultimate example for us. He was right from the inside out. Instead of saying he was a Christian, he showed us. Too many times we only hear the talk - without the walk. What is the measure of this man’s contribution to the world? Immeasurable. Matthew 6: 1- 4