There’s Always A Hand Waiting
George got into the truck this Tuesday morning not knowing what to expect. He was nervous sitting inside the cab. Last week, Walt was not very talkative. He did not want to ask about business loans or anything related to the company. After a few minutes, Walt interrupted the silence and asked, “George, aren’t you going to ask me how things are going?” George responded, “I didn’t know if you wanted to talk about it.” As they moved down the street, they exchanged updates on their families. George described some drama that was happening at his work. As the truck turned the corner, George asked Walt, “So, tell me what is going on? Didn’t you have another loan application meeting this past week?” As Walt nodded his head, he said, “I actually had two meetings at the bank. When the first meeting was over, I was taken upstairs to a conference room and had to speak with four managers at one time.” For the next few houses Walt described how the meetings went and how nervous he was to speak with bankers. After an eternity of questions about Walt’s business plan, the expected quarterly profits, insurance, facility rent, truck lease payments and many others, Walt said he leaned back in his chair and stopped talking. When the group grew frustrated he asked them, “Can I speak about me?” George tried to tell Walt that it was the bank’s job to find out as much as they could before lending money. The bank will take all the precautions to ensure that the loan and interest will be repaid. Walt and George continued to speak about the details of the banking process until Walt changed the course of the conversation.
Walt told George, “After 30 minutes in the conference room I did not look the direction of the process, so I decided to change it.” He added, “I wanted to be who they wanted me to be, but it killed me inside.” So Walt changed the topic from the bottom line to what he wanted to add to the trash collecting experience. Walt described that he would provide a new trash and recycling can to all customers. He detailed that he would provide the best trash cans for people to put outside their house. He also added some niche products that his company would offer customers. He highlighted that employees would treated with care and respect and be required to maintain the trucks before every shift. When the bankers asked Walt how he was going to pay for these changes, he had a financial plan for these new expenses. Walt said, “I made up my mind that I would be me because I am good at what I do. I would rather be myself, even if it meant that I had to go off what they wanted to hear.” George asked, “How did they like that version?” Walt described that, they left me in the room and met with the bank president. He said, “About twenty minutes later, a man walks in the room alone and introduces himself as Phillip Rhodes, bank president.” Mr. Rhodes asked Walt to describe his vision and after about ten minutes, he stops Walt. Mr. Rhodes says, “I know who you are, I know what you’re about and I know how you care for your customers. I am willing for this bank to take a chance on you so I approving the loan.” George belted out, “That’s awesome, you got the loan!” Walt returned, “That’s not the best part.” He asked George, “Do you remember the house up the lane that we went to a month ago?” “How can I forget, I had to throw their trash into the truck in the snow”, said George. Walt told George that he has went up the long lane once a month for five years and took their trash. He never once told the bosses he did this, so those people never received any bill. “What I didn’t tell you or even know myself was their last name was Rhodes” said Walt. Walt smiled as he told George that Phillip Rhodes was that couple’s son and he knew that Walt did this act. This monthly act proved to the bank president that Walt cared about his customers, even if they did not pay for it. As the truck pulled up to George’s house, Walt said, “I will tell you more next week.”
Everyone has heard the phrase, “Random Acts of Kindness” and I have observed how doing something unexpectedly for someone has blessed me personally. But more often than not, my random act is just that; random and once. I ask myself, I am willing to continue doing something for years, like Walt? Walt made that trip over sixty times and rarely received a thank you, but kept doing it. He carried out those acts because he cared for that couple, he valued his impact and eventually received an unexpected blessing himself. I encourage you to look for something you can do for someone more than once without saying a word. You never know how that blessing will come back to you.