Help Wanted

Golden Rule #17: Help Others Whenever You Can.

In the course of any given day, opportunities to help others will present themselves. They just will. Usually they’ll poke their funny little heads around a corner when you’re not looking for them, or when it’s really inconvenient, or when you feel like maybe instead of helping someone else, you could use a little help yourself. Your hands will be full, or you’ll be thinking about something completely different, or you’ll be in a hurry, and suddenly you’ll realize, there is something I can do to help that person. Maybe it’s a really simple thing like letting them out of a parking spot when traffic is backed up. Maybe it’s helping a guy load an unwieldy sheet of plywood in his truck bed on a windy day. Maybe it’s holding a door open, or letting someone go ahead of you in line somewhere, or doing some thankless little thing that no one will see or notice. It’s still the right thing to do. Do it anyway.

When I drive out to Pensacola Beach, the last bridge we cross to get there is a toll bridge. It costs a whole dollar to get onto Santa Rosa Island. A buck to get to the beach. Best value in town. Before I pull up to the toll booth, I make sure I have my dollar ready, and I have another dollar ready to pay the toll for the person behind me. I absolutely love doing that. They can’t thank me. They don’t know me, and I don’t know them. I can’t see their reaction when they’re told that their toll was paid. Pretty sure if they’ve made it to the toll booth, they’re ready to pay, so it’s not about the money. Nope. It just makes me feel good, giving that tiny little gift to a complete stranger. One time, somebody did that for me, and I just loved it. Made my whole day.

When Steve and I were first married, we had no money. Christmas arrived, and we had absolutely no funds to buy gifts. Someone anonymously gave us $100. To us, that was huge, and we promptly scurried out and bought gifts for our families. They were “nothing” gifts purchased at a local drug store. The internet hadn’t yet burst onto the scene, and stores were scarce and sparsely stocked. Still, that anonymous gift meant everything to us. Receiving it made it possible for us to give gifts to others.

Pensive Copper in Kitchen

How does Copper help others? Well, he’s a big fan of the spontaneous butt sniff, but that isn’t always well received. Copper has a gift: he can tell when someone is sad or upset, and he makes it his personal mission to comfort them and calm them down. He staples them to the floor with his large golden self, and his very presence is a reassuring gift.

If you look for the negative things in life, you will find them everywhere. And if you look for ways to be helpful and courteous, you will likely be astonished by the fact that they far outnumber the negative things. It will change your focus and your outlook. Try it! You’ll like it!

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