This I Believe

Royce - Tequesta, Florida
Entered on August 30, 2006

Several years ago fter a long illness I found myself out of work and worrying about money A friend suggested I could make some quick money by driving for a Car Service at the Airport as a fill in job. I figured a few dollars would help me bring a nice Christmas to my family who had been there supporting me while I was ill.

The Taxi drivers I met at the Airport were a strange lot, telling me peculiar stories of life on the streets. But I respected them for the hard work scratching out a living driving a cab. Several became close friends and we would discuss our lives and the constant worry of not making enough to pay our costs. They were worried that the season income,would be bad.

My boss asked me to write a Christmas story for the company newsletter. I explained I was not Charles Dickens, but that I would think about it. Since I was given only 5 days to write it. I didn’t think I could come up with one in time. What an assignment. To elevate my despair I started doing random acts of kindness, which helped make me feel better. My mother had taught me compassion and to feel good about yourself by doing random acts of kindness for others. I discussed this with my new friends at the Taxi stand. I explained that this simple philosophy would make it special for anyone if they would go out of their way to do random acts of kindness for their customers, and bring the Christmas Spirit into their hearts. I wrote a short article for the newsleter about my idea but with a sales pitch built in, that said I was an addict That I got a rush and got high on doing random acts of kindness, that I had taken this job because it was like a drunk getting a job in a brewery. It allowed me to indulge in my addiction. I then promised the drivers they would see prosperity if only they would believe in what goes around comes around and do random acts of kindness. Say a kind word to a stranger you may never see again, help some one in distress, one or two small acts and they would see their Christmas become prosperous. As I approached each with my idea they looked at me in total disbelief and walked away shaking their heads. I felt I had failed to make them understand I understood their mistrust about my belief that what goes around comes around it was just words.

Christmas Day came and went and as usual off I went to the airport. At the taxi stand one of my new taxi friends strolled up to me and with a sheepish grin said, “That random acts of kindness stuff really works”. “Why, what happened?” I asked. “Well I picked up this lady off the last flight of the night, the day before Christmas. She was visiting her daughter for the holidays. She had forgotten to bring the address with her but knew she lived in a rental apartment known as Lake Shore Apartments. I figured that had to be on Lake Shore Drive and told her not to worry I would find it for her without the meter on for a flat rate of $20. I drove up Lake Shore till I found the building and went and checked the apt. Name and numbers of her daughter. On my return to the car she was crying and upset digging in her purse. I am so stupid I not only forgot the address I didn’t bring enough money for a tip and you were so nice and helpful I really would like to tip you. Don’t worry about the tip its Christmas lady, I said. No, that’s not the half of it I need you to carry all my luggage up those stairs. “That’s not a problem make this my Christmas gift to you lady.” I replied.

She followed me up to the second floor and gave me 60 cents she found in the bottom of her purse thanking me and wishing me a merry Christmas. As I walked back to the stairs I thought about you and your random acts of kindness stuff and how it would make me wealthy. Wait till I see you and tell you how much I made for helping this lady. As I crossed the sidewalk and stepped on the grass medium there on the grass was a $50 bill. A joke right? Someone will pull the string as I reach for it. So I stood on it and looked around. It can’t be real I told myself, but I picked it up turned the dome light on in my car and it was a real $50 bill. It made my day and my Christmas. That random act of kindness really works. He walked away and I marveled at how my message had started to work.

Within 30 min a second driver friend came by my car and said “What goes around comes around”, “Why what happened to you?” I asked. He then proceeded to tell me his story. “I did a run to a condo on the beach in the south end and after dropping my passengers 3 girls ran up to my car window begging me to take them to the Four Seasons Hotel in Palm Beach. They were late for a wedding rehearsal and a car service thier Dad had ordered never came. They promised their Dad would pay since he was waiting for them at the front door of the Hotel. When I pulled into the Four Seasons Hotel two girls jumped out, the other was digging in her purse for a tip. “Don’t worry about the tip get to your rehearsal” I told her. As she got out, a man knocked on my window. He explained he was the girls Father and they had told him what I had done and requested my business card. He said,” I own a business not far from here and use a car service all the time and would like to give me all of his business.” As I handed him my card he rolled up a bill and shoved it in my shirt pocket.” That’s for the trip Merry Christmas,” and walked away.”

As I pulled out onto the street your words rang in my ears, a simple random act of kindness will start what goes around comes around. I had picked up an account. I then reached in my shirt pocket and pulled out the rolled up bill. Would you believe my surprise when I saw it was a $50 bill, it made my day.”

“I know that $50 bill it’s been going around,” I said, we both laughed at his good fortune and I smiled at my idea as it changed his life. Later that evening I wanted to get home to tell my wife what had happened about this wonderful event that had unfolded and start writing it down as. I requested a north ride from the starter so I could head home. The gentleman I picked up at the airport that night had missed a connecting flight, which had made him late getting home, and was very upset.

I said I had noticed the Christmas spirit had left him maybe I could bring it back a little bit by telling him a Christmas story while I drove him home. He said ” Fine” and I proceeded to relate my story as we headed north. As I pulled into his driveway I got to the end of the story and gave him the punch line “I know that $50 bill it’s been going around.” “Nice story, now how much is my fare?” he asked. “$30 Sir”, he passed a bill over my shoulder as I stopped. “Do you recognize that?” he asked, it was a $50 bill. We both laughed and I said, “Yes, I think that’s that one that’s been going around.” “I thought it was the one” he said and started to get out of the car. “Wait Sir! The fare is only $30”, I said.” No I think that’s the one and I want to be part of your Christmas story, Thank you, Merry Christmas” and walked away up the path to his house. I watched him go into his house, stunned, totally astonished expecting him to return. As I drove home my eyes teard up realizing that I had been searching for the Christmas spirit and it had come and found me. Arriving at my home my wife greeted me with “That bad a day… it made you cry?” No it was the best day of my life and I have a story to tell you. Tonight I am bringing home a treasure worth more than all the money I could have made today. I think I’ll be busy for a long time, maybe my whole life, doing random acts of kindness. I have quit driving but heard from many drivers about the $50 story and how it changed their lives and that since doing random acts of kindness they have built up good client lists during difficult times

This I believe. That if I could get everyone I meet to do a simple random act of kindness for someone I will have changed many peoples lives and made them all feel happier about life.