• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

My father, who many people know as C.C., works long hours and traveled over 100,000 miles last year. Yet he still finds time to volunteer for whatever he can. Once a week as an Airport Ambassador for Traveler's Aid, he roams the terminals to find people in need of help. Last week Jenny joined him at a local church to feed homeless people. He ushers at most venues in town (so he can see shows for free), and of course, he is active with Make-a-Wish and lends a hand whenever he can for his home away from home, Midtown Church of Religious Science.

When asked, "How do you fit it all in?" my dad consistently answers, "We all have 168 hours in a week. You do with that time what you wish."

Walking back to the dining room to clear our dishes, I asked Dad, "Why do you spend so much time doing this stuff rather than reading or something?"

"I read a lot," he responded.

"Come on, you know what I mean," I said.

"I do it for a selfish reason. It makes me feel good." We took our seats back at the table and Dad explained further.

"I really believe that if you're doing well, you should reach out and help people. If you can make somebody else's life a little easier, in any instance, on any occasion, you should do it. I know all the cleaning ladies at work by name. When I see somebody shining the floors [they're retired Navy guys], I tell them, 'That looks great!' And you should see their faces. Everybody can use a compliment -- not bullshit, sycophantic, obsequious ass-kissing, but a legitimate compliment. It really is rewarding. And it's easy and it's cheap, it doesn't cost you a fucking dime. And it makes a difference in their face...so I imagine it makes a difference in their life."

Dad's eyes glistened with moisture. "You can change somebody's life for a day," he said. "Before I go to bed, I think, what did I contribute to the world today? What did I do worthwhile? And every day, it's always something." He got up and went to his room, and returned with a Ziploc baggie in his hands. "Here, I want you to put this in your wallet," he said, retrieving a small slip of paper from the bag, which contained at least 50 such slips. "I have one in mine."

I turned the white slip over to see the words printed in large, bold, black letters: " Be Grateful! "

"Thanks, Daddy," I said. "I'll do my best."

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!