Inspirational Stories related to supporting people disabilities
A Job Coach Lesson for the
The following true story was told by Lynne Elwell, a disability rights advocate from England, to Elizabeth Barnes, a friend of mine and former Tri-Development Center staff member:
Lynne promotes asking individuals with disabilities what they want to do instead of placing them in jobs determined appropriate by others. On one occasion she asked a gentleman named George what he would like to be. He had been influenced by the television show “Upstairs, Downstairs”, seen in the United States on the Public Broadcasting System. George stated that he wanted to be a butler. All involved were taken aback, but were determined to follow through on assisting him in achieving his goal. They sent out many letters stating that they had a gentleman who wished to be a butler and asked if there were any openings or where they might find training. There were very few responses. All were negative.
When everyone was about to give up, they received a call from Buckingham Palace (yep, the Queen of England’s residence). While they did not have an opening for butler, which was described as a highly skilled job, there was an opening for a footman. The caller stated that an application from George would be welcomed. An application was made and an interview was granted. George did a great job of interviewing the interviewers. When asked if he would like to be a footman, his reply was “No, I want to be a butler.”
After considerable discussion, George finally agreed to give the footman role a try. There were several stipulations. He would have to live at the palace, and he would receive on-the-job training and lots of supervision. There was to be NO MEDIA COVERAGE!! An agreement was made. George is currently a footman at the palace. This is a true story of a gentleman with an intellectual disability who is working toward his dream.
(I have no idea if this individual is still working at Buckingham Palace today.
– Ralph Courtney)
We’re Fortunate You’re Here!
(Dedicated to the Dedicated)
Through the agency door you walked with a look of concern.
Was this disability field something you really could learn?
You stepped up to the desk to see what you would earn
If you were selected as someone requested to return.
An application you completed; that part went pretty well.
All of the facts were right, but you never could spell.
You knew your listed references would say you’re really swell;
But would you get a call back? You just couldn’t tell.
Then your phone rang – it was to set up an interview.
Would you be offered a job, or maybe even two?
As you selected your clothes, your anxiety grew.
You really did want this job – if only they knew.
You completed all the papers and you took all the tests.
Some answers you knew, and the others you just guessed.
You tried really hard to put forth your very best,
But when you turned your papers in, man were you stressed.
When you met those we serve, you knew right then
That they could count on you as their mentor and friend.
And so you got the job, and your joy was not pretend.
You chose to serve your fellowman and that we must commend.
You’ve given of yourself and made a positive impact,
And through it all you’ve managed to never get sacked.
We’re very fortunate to have you, and that’s a fact.
Can’t imagine how things would be if you’d never come back.
You’ve been loyal, honest, and devoted, too;
So where would we be now, if we’d never met you?
In good times and bad times, and all year through,
We’ve been fortunate to have you and the good you do.
– Ralph E. Courtney, 2009
I Belong in This World
I belong in this world.
I refuse to believe
You are better than me.
This is nonsense you see.
When I came to this world
There was no one like me.
The assignment I have is
Be the best I can be.
There are things I should learn:
To act right and achieve,
To survive in this world,
And contribute my dream.
I will just be myself
In a world that’s diverse.
It is great to be me.
I am something to see.
I will reach out to those
Who are needing my help.
I will fight for the rights
That I need to be free.
– Horacio Delano Lewis
My Life in Verse, 1994-95
Making A Difference
(This simple story does a beautiful job showing those of us who work with people with disabilities that, while single handedly we may not be able to change the world, our efforts can make a major difference in the lives of others.)
Early one evening, an old man was walking alone along the edge of seashore. From a distance, the old man could see a young boy busily tossing objects into the sea. As the old man drew closer, he could see that the young boy was picking up starfish from the sand. One by one, the boy was tossing each starfish back into the ocean. As the old man looked about himself, he could see that the shoreline was covered with many thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the sea’’ tide.
“What is it you are doing?” inquired the old man.
“Why, I am throwing these starfish back into the sea so that they may live,” said the boy.
“But there are so many of them lying on shore . . .,” said the old man. “Do you
really believe your time and effort will make any difference?”
As the young boy tossed the next starfish he was holding into the sea, he looked up at the old man and said:
“It made a difference to that one.”
For more information about Tri-Development Center and the Aiken County Board of Disabilities, please contact us at any of the following:
P.O. Box 698 / Aiken, SC 29802-0698
803-642-8800 Voice / 803-642-8806 FAX
Puppies for Sale
(Our sincere thanks go to Dan Clark, the author of this story for granting Tri-Development Center permission to reprint. It was taken from his book, Puppies for Sale and Other Inspirational Tales. Mr. Clark can be reached at P.O. Box 8689, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84108. Phone: 1-800-676-1121)
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies for Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.” The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2,37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “This is the little puppy I want to buy.”
The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give
him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little puppy is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay the full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pants leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.”
The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In dark and bitter cold
Each possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logs,
But the first one held hers back,
For, of the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.
The next one looked cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And could not bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought
Of wealth he had in store,
And keeping all that he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For he saw in his stick of wood
A chance to spite the white.
And the last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain,
Giving just to those who gave
Was how he played the game,
Their sticks held tight in death’s stilled hands
Was proof enough of sin;
They did not die from cold without–
They died from cold within.
– James Patrick Kinney
The Power of Encouragement
Teddy and Mrs. Thompson
by Bill Bratt
Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all.
Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s records and she put Teddy’s off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”
His second-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”
His third-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy continues to work hard but his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
Teddy’s fourth-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem.”
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.
Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.”
After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called “Teddy.” As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and… well, he had also become the “pet” of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favorite. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And on that special day, Jean Thompson wore that bracelet, the one with the rhinestones missing. And on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I m you.”
THE MORAL: You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another’s life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture through life.
You Are Special
(This story helps children and adults realize they shouldn’t automatically
accept other people’s negative comments and assessments of them. Do your
best and be proud of yourself. In the entire world, there has never been
another person like you. You are rare. – Ralph Courtney, Executive Director)
You Are Special
by Max Lucado
The Wemmicks were small wooden people. Each of the wooden people was carved by a woodworker named Eli. His workshop sat on a hill overlooking their village. Every Wemmick was different. Some had big noses, others had large eyes. Some were tall and others were short. Some wore hats, others wore coats. But all were made by the same carver and all lived in the village. And all day, every day, the Wemmicks did the same thing: They gave each other stickers. Each Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people could be seen sticking stars or dots on one another.
The pretty ones, those with smooth wood and fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood was rough or the paint chipped, the Wemmicks gave dots. The talented ones got stars, too. Some could lift big sticks high above their heads or jump over tall boxes. Still others knew big words or could sing very pretty songs. Everyone gave them stars.
Some Wemmicks had stars all over them! Every time they got a star it made them feel so good that they did something else and got another star. Others, though, could do little. They got dots.
Punchinello was one of these. He tried to jump high like the others, but he always fell. And when he fell, the others would gather around and give him dots.
Sometimes when he fell, it would scar his wood, so the people would give him more dots. He would try to explain why he fell and say something silly, and the Wemmicks would give him more dots. After a while he had so many dots that he didn’t want to go outside. He was afraid he would do something dumb such as forget his hat or step in the water, and then people would give him another dot. In fact, he had so many gray dots that some people would come up and give him one without reason. “He deserves lots of dots,” the wooden people would agree with one another. “He’s not a good wooden person.”
After a while Punchinello believed them. “I’m not a good Wemmick,” he would say. The few times he went outside, he hung around other Wemmicks who had a lot of dots. He felt better around them.
One day he met a Wemmick who was unlike any he’d ever met. She had no dots or stars. She was just wooden. Her name was Lucia. It wasn’t that people didn’t try to give her stickers; it’s just that the stickers didn’t stick. Some admired Lucia for having no dots, so they would run up and give her a star. But it would fall off. Some would look down on her for having no stars, so they would give her a dot. But it wouldn’t stay either. “That’s the way I want to be,” thought Punchinello. “I don’t want anyone’s marks.” So he asked the stickerlessWemmick how she did it
“It’s easy,” Lucia replied. “Every day I go see Eli.”
“Yes, Eli. The woodcarver. I sit in the workshop with him.”
“Why don’t you find out for yourself? Go up the hill. He’s there.”
And with that the Wemmick with no marks turned and skipped away. “But he won’t want to see me!” Punchinello cried out. Lucia didn’t hear. So Punchinello went home. He sat near a window and watched the wooden people as they scurried around giving each other stars and dots. “It’s not right,” he muttered to himself. And he resolved to go see Eli. He walked up the narrow path to the top of the hill and stepped into the big shop. His wooden eyes widened at the size of everything. The stool was as tall as he was. He had to stretch on his tiptoes to see the top of the workbench. A hammer was as long as his arm. Punchinello swallowed hard. “I’m not staying here!” and he turned to leave. Then he heard his name.
“Punchinello?” The voice was deep and strong. Punchinello stopped. “Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and let me have a look at you.”
Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the large bearded craftsman. “You know my name?” the little Wemmick asked.
“Of course I do. I made you.” Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench. “Hmm,” the maker spoke thoughtfully as he inspected the gray circles. “Looks like you’ve been given some bad marks.”
“I didn’t mean to, Eli. I really tried hard.”
“Oh, you don’t have to defend yourself to me, child. I don’t care what the other Wemmicks think.”
“No, and you shouldn’t either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They’re Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn’t matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special.”
Punchinello laughed. “Me, special? Why? I can’t walk fast. I can’t jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?”
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. “Because you’re mine. That’s why you matter to me.”
Punchinello had never had anyone look at him like this – much less his maker. He didn’t know what to say. “Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.
“I came because I met someone who had no marks.”
“I know. She told me about you.”
“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?”
“Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.”
“The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“You will, but it will take time. You’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.” Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground. “Remember,” Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door. “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”
Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, “I think he really means it.” And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.
May all your dots fall silently to the ground, for if given by man, they matter only to other men. When given the choice, pass out stars, drop the dots in the trash.
– Max Lucado
You can purchase this wonderful story,
I Want To Tell You Lies
Many disabilities and deaths can be prevented. Tri-Development Center coordinates local Safe Kids efforts and encourages everyone to work to increase the safety in their homes, their workplaces, and throughout the community. By working together we can be successful in reducing the number of preventable deaths and lifelong disabilities.
I want to tell that little boy his mom will be just fine.
I want to tell that dad we got his daughter out in time.
I want to tell that wife her husband will be home tonight.
I don’t want to tell it like it is….
I want to tell them lies.
You didn’t put their seat belts on, you feel you killed your kids.
I want to say you didn’t … but in a way, you did.
You pound your fists into my chest, you’re hurting so inside.
I want to say you’ll be OK….
I want to tell you lies.
You left chemicals within his reach and now it’s in his eyes.
I want to say your son will see, not tell you he’ll be blind.
You ask me if he’ll be OK, with pleading in your eyes.
I want to say that yes he will ….
I want to tell you lies.
I can see you’re crying as your life goes up in smoke.
If you’d maintained that smoke alarm, your children may have woke.
Don’t grab my arm and ask me if your family is alive.
Don’t make me tell you they’re all dead ….
I want to tell you lies.
I want to say she’ll be OK, you didn’t take her life,
I hear you say you love her and you’d never hurt your wife.
You thought you didn’t drink too much, you thought that you could drive.
I don’t want to say how wrong you were….
I want to tell you lies.
You only left her for a moment, it happens all the time,
How could she have fallen when you thought she couldn’t climb.
I want to say her neck’s not broke, that she will be just fine.
I don’t want to say she’s paralyzed….
I want to tell you lies.
I want to tell this teen his buddies didn’t die in vain,
Because he thought it would be cool to try and beat that train.
I don’t want to tell him this will haunt him all his life.
I want to say that he’ll forget …
I want to tell him lies.
You left the cabinet open and your daughter found the gun,
Now you want me to undo the damage that’s been done.
You tell me she’s your only child, you say she’s only five.
I don’t want to say she won’t see six ….
I want to tell you lies.
He fell into the pool when you went to grab the phone,
It was only for a second that you left him there alone.
If you’d let the damn phone ring perhaps your boy would be alive.
But I don’t want to tell you that….
I want to tell you lies.
The fact that you were speeding caused that car to overturn,
And we couldn’t get them out of there before the whole thing burned.
Did they suffer? Yes, they suffered, they were slowly burned alive,
But I don’t want to say those words ….
I want to tell you lies.
But I have to tell it like it is, until my shift is through,
And then the real lies begin, when I come home to you.
You ask me how my day was, and I say it was just fine.
I hope you understand, sometimes …..
I have to tell you lies.
Used with special permission of the author
Copyright © 1998 – All Rights Reserved and may not be duplicated without permission
Kalvere is from Minnesota and would welcome any comments. His background is firefighting in Minnesota
Something for Stevie
The following story illustrates how much many people with disabilities
have to offer when simply provided with appropriate opportunities.
Something for Stevie
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had an employee with an intellectual disability and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy, with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down Syndrome. I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers, because truckers don’t generally, care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade.
The mouthy college kids traveling to school were the ones who concerned me; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truckstop germ”; the pairs of white-shirted businessmen on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie, so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.
I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot. After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21 year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties.
Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, and not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto the cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between their being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.
That’s why the restaurant was such a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down Syndrome often had heart problems at an early age, so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.
A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war whoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. “Okay, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.
“We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and is going to be okay,” said Frannie.
“I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?” asked Belle.
Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the two other drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, then sighed. “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be okay,” she said, “but I don’t know how he and his mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.”
Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie, and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I didn’t get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off until after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said. “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.” She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed “Something for Stevie.”
Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another paper napkin that had “Something for Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.
Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply,
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot, and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took them and his mother by their arms.
“Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate your coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me.” I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room.
I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession.
We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups; saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. “First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up that mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern.
Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.
I turned to his mother. “There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving.”
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table . . .
Best worker I ever hired . . . .
If anyone knows the author of this story, please let us know how to get in touch with him/her so that we can give credit for this work.
-Ralph Courtney, Executive Director