Some cautionary tales that will teach us an important lesson in how to relate to people.
1. Know the name of the cleaner
When I was in my second level of college, our professor gave us a writing test. I was a diligent student, so I answered all but the last question, "What is the name of the woman who cleans our institute building??"
I thought it was some kind of joke. Yeah, I've seen our cleaning lady a few times. She was a tall, dark-haired woman in her early fifties, but how was I supposed to know her name?? I passed the test without giving an answer to the question. Just before the class was over, one of the students asked if the question would count toward his final grade.
"Naturally," said the professor. "Whatever job you get, you're bound to interact with a lot of people, and among them there are none who are completely unimportant. They deserve your attention and care, even if it is a common greeting.".
I've carried that lesson through my life. I also found out that the woman's name was Dorothy.
2. Don't leave a man to soak in the rain
One day at 11:30 p.m. sharp, an elderly black woman was standing by the side of an Alabama highway in the pouring rain. Her car broke down, but she had to get to her destination, no matter what. She decided to try to stop the car - although she got soaked through in the rain.
Soon a car stopped and a young white man got out, who immediately agreed to help her, a thing unheard of in the conflict-filled '60s. The man not only drove her to her place, but also helped her dry off and even called a cab.
The woman was in a hurry, but she took the time to thank him, and also to ask for his name and address. And seven days later, there was a knock at the man's door. How surprised he was when he saw there was a box with a huge flat screen TV in it.
The letter attached to the box said, "Thank you for helping me out on the highway that day. That rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my hope. And then you came along. And thanks to you, I got to see my dying husband just before he died. Thank you for helping me without expecting anything in return. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.".
3. Don't forget those who serve you
Back in the day, when ice cream and chocolate cost less than they do now, a ten-year-old boy went into a restaurant cafe and sat down at a table. The waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is chocolate ice cream?"? - he asked. "Fifty cents," the waitress replied.
The boy rummaged in his pocket for coins and went through them.
"And how much does a regular ice cream cost?" he asked. By this time several more people had sat down at other tables, and the waitress was beginning to lose her patience. "Thirty-five cents!"- she answered sharply.
The boy counted the coins again. "Then I'll have the usual, please," he said. The waitress brought him an ice cream, the bill, and left. The boy ate the ice cream, paid the cashier, and left the cafe.
When the waitress returned to that table and began wiping it down, she almost cried. Under the empty plate there were two coins, a dime and a nickel. The boy gave up his ice cream and chocolate to leave her a tip.
4. Remove obstacles in your way
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, her king ordered a huge boulder to be placed in the middle of a busy road. Afterwards, he hid by the side of the road to see if anyone could get it out of the way. At first several courtiers and rich merchants in carriages drove along the road - all of them simply bypassed the stone, many also loudly condemned the king for such disorder on the roads near the capital, but no one did anything to get the stone out of the way.
After them all, a farmer appeared on the road, carrying a bag of vegetables on his back. As he approached the cobblestone, he placed the bag on the ground and tried to push the stone to the side of the road. He had to sweat it out, but in the end he succeeded. And after he picked up the sack on his shoulders again, he saw that under the removed cobblestone lay a purse full of gold coins, and a letter from the king, in which he gave the purse along with its contents to whoever would remove the stone from the road. The farmer realized what many of us never understand - "Every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our lot.".
5. Give back when you need it
Many years ago, when I was volunteering at a hospital, I met a little girl named Lisa who was suffering from a rare and serious illness. Her only chance of salvation was a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had already had the disease and had developed antibodies that could handle it. The doctor explained to her brother what was required of him and asked if he was willing to give his sister his blood. He hesitated for no more than a second and then said: "If it will save her life, I agree.".
As the transfusion was going on, he watched, as we all do, as his sister's pale cheeks returned to blush, and smiled... But then he suddenly darkened and asked the doctor in a trembling voice, "Am I going to die soon?"
Afterward, we learned that the boy misunderstood the doctor, and decided that in order to save his sister, he had to give all his blood.