You don’t hear from me often in this spot. I like to stay in thebackground, writing about the facts and keeping my opinions tomyself, so I leave it to my Publisher Bill and Associate Janice to penthis space and share their opinions. After all, my momma alwaystold me “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything all.”But this week, I actually havesomething nice to say.
We read week after week,and hear day after day, ofthe evils in our present-dayworld ... how uncivil we areto each other, how our kidsare bullies, and our teensare selfi sh, lazy and spoiledrotten. But I’m here to tell youthat there is hope. And that’ssaying a lot coming from me,the eternal pessimist.
During one of our recentsnow and ice storms, perhapson the second or third day asthe city was fi nally dustingitself off and coming backto life, I came to Fayettevillefrom my home in Harnett County, fi nally heading back to work.I was making a quick stop at my mother’s to deposit my son forthe day, as schools were still closed. As I neared my mother’shouse, I saw two young boys — maybe in the neighborhood of13 or so — cleaning the snow and ice off her neighbor’s car. Likemy mother, her neighbor is an elderly widow, and these kids didnot belong to her. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “there are someentrepreneurial kids out making a buck in the cold. Good for them.At least they have initiative.” Pulling up to my mom’s house, I sawthat her car had also been cleaned off. Entering the front door, Icommented on it and asked her how much they charged for that.“They volunteered,” she responded. “Yeah, volunteered for FREEor volunteered for a few bucks?” was my skeptical response. Sheexplained that they had, in fact, volunteered for FREE.
They were the boys that did her yard for her (albeit, not forfree) and came by and offered to clean off her car. Wow! I wasalmost stunned, which is sad. Once, that would have been acommon neighborly thing to do for each other. But these days,unfortunately, a kind simple act as that seems extraordinary. Iwatched out the window as the boys headed across the street tothe home of a disabled personand cleaned off yet anotherneighbor’s vehicle.
I took this as a teachablemoment for my own 10-year-oldson and let him know what a nice,admirable and unselfi sh act theseboys were performing. Insteadof playing with their friends, orsitting in front of the TV with acup of hot chocolate, they wereout in their neighborhood helpingtheir neighbors — and providingexcellent customer service andadded value to their lawn-mowingbusiness customers. Sometimes,it’s all I can do to get my own dearchild to take three steps acrossthe hall to put his laundry in thelaundry room, or to feed his own cats. And many businesses inour community could learn a thing or two from these kids aboutcustomer service!
Every now and then my faith in humanity is restored. There arestill some people who do the right things for the right reasons. Allhope is not lost for our youth. And to the parents of those two boys,whoever they may be, I applaud you for a job well done. I hope thatmy own will turn out so well, eventually.
And as for all this cold winter weather we’ve been having, toborrow a line from Grady Bowman’s Facebook post, “I’m snowover it.” Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weeklyand thank goodnessthe Groundhogpredicted an earlySpring!