Apropos of Nothing

April 9, 2008

Five Important Lessons

Filed under: Philosophy,Worth It — aproposofnothing @ 9:55 pm

1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I
was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until
I read the last one:

‘What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?’

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman
several times. She was tall,dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I
know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before
class ended, one student asked if the last question
would count toward our quiz grade.

‘Absolutely,’ said the professor. ‘In your careers,you will meet many
people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even
if all you do is smile and say ‘hello.’

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an elderly African-American
woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she
desperately needed a ride.Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next
car.A young white man
stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled
The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
put her into a taxicab.She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down
his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the
man’s door. To his surprise, a
giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was

It read:
‘Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The
rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came
along.Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s
bedside just before he passed away.. God bless you for helping me and
serving others.’

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A
waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
‘How much is an ice cream sundae?’ he asked.

‘Fifty cents,’ replied the waitress
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins
in it.

‘Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?’ he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the
waitress was growing impatient.

‘Thirty-five cents,’ she brusquely replied.The little boy again counted
his coins.

‘I’ll have the plain ice cream,’ he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream,put the bill on the table
and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and
When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the
table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,were two nickels and
five pennies..

You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had
to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid
himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of
the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked
around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear,
but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon
approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his
burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much
pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up
his load of vegetables, he
noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed
the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts…

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to
know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious
disease. Her only chance of
recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old
brother, who had miraculously survived
the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and
asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and
saying, ‘Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.’ As the
transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as
we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew
pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, ‘Will I
start to die right away’.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he
was going to have to give his sister all of his
blood in order to save her.


‘Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt,
and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.’

H/T Wynette


  1. My day took a turn for the better and my faith in humanity was restored after reading this article. Thank you so much for allowing me access to it. You are to be congratulated.

    Comment by Peter Holden — April 19, 2008 @ 7:13 am | Reply

  2. […] Five Important Lessons – Social BookmarkingTags: Social […]

    Pingback by How Can Older People Stay So Calm? | — May 8, 2008 @ 10:41 am | Reply

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