Villain A to Z: Generosity

parkinglot

The Modern Villain lives an abundant life, rich with all of the things that he values and desires. He understands that those around him, whether he knows them personally or not, are fellow human beings and therefore it is his wish that they enjoy an abundant, fulfilling life as well. He does his part to enrich the lives of others through his frequent and sometimes random acts of generosity.

No one man can affect all of mankind. It is simply impossible for a man to control or even influence the thoughts and actions of everyone around him. Some people’s beliefs are simply too deeply ingrained to be changed by the actions of others, and some simply have mental disorders, which prevent them from being “good” people.

Those cases are the exceptions however; as a rule human beings are generally good. We live in an unfortunate cutthroat society nowadays where it seems that someone is always trying to “get over” on his or her fellow man. From rejoicing at receiving too much change from a busy employee at a restaurant, to switching price tags on an item at a store, some people live for these “small victories” and chalk them up as “wins”.

It takes little to understand that the world would be a better place if less people thought this way, and more showed concern and care for their fellow man. While this is not something that you can do on your own, you can certainly see to it that your actions are not in line with his behavior, and influence as many others, through your generosity and compassion, to act in a more benevolent manner as well.

Living a rich, rewarding life has little to do with getting over on others. I’ve stated before on numerous occasions that the single most influential lesson that I ever received with regards to financial success was:

Solve the problems of others, and they will solve your financial problems.

In a business context this simply means that if you make someone else’s life easier in some manner, or otherwise more rewarding or enjoyable, you will be compensated freely and with the gratitude of the individuals that you have helped.

I was fortunate enough to frequently observe the overwhelming generosity of my Pop Pop as a young boy. Hands down the most powerful, respected, and beloved man that I ever knew, he epitomized generosity day in, day out.

I can recall him anonymously picking up the check for others who he sensed were less fortunate on several occasions while out at and about, and vividly remember the stories of my youngest uncle who spent entire winters delivering truckloads of firewood to low income families at the expense of my Pop Pop. He would buy the wood, and then pay my uncle his wages for the day to deliver it, for no reason other than he did not wish to see these people go cold.

His actions left a tremendous impression on me at that young age, and influenced me to follow in his footsteps, generously giving wherever, whenever, and however I was able.

One of the most memorable instances of my adult life, which was immensely rewarding to me, occurred two days before Christmas several years ago.

Coming off of a several year stretch of not having the funds to purchase expensive gift items at the holidays, I found myself doing well financially for the first time that year. I decided that I wanted to buy something special for my Dad, and went out in search of a welding setup, something that he’d talked about wanting to buy for years.

I was able to find one for a few hundred dollars that fit my criteria, and happily purchased it at a store not far from my house, but in a bit sketchier part of town.

Upon exiting the store, I wheeled the cart carrying the big box towards my truck as I observed a man who seemed a bit out of place, lurking about in the parking lot. It was very cold that night, and the man was dressed in a button up cotton shirt and cotton pants, and was wearing what appeared to be an ill-fitting pair of work gloves.

My peripheral vision picked up his movement as he approached me at an oblique angle from behind. I hoisted the box from the cart, and set it in the bed of my truck as my eye caught him advancing in a slightly more deliberate manner.

Sensing that he did not have the purest of intentions, I discretely drew my Glock 19 pistol from its belt holster on my hip, and let my hand fall casually to my side.

I turned to face him, my weapon concealed by my body, as he got to within about six feet from my position. He stopped and began to say something, but choked on his words and began to withdraw his by then concealed hand from his pocket. I immediately leveled my pistol, trained on the bridge of his nose, and instructed him to take his hand from his pocket.

What happened next surprised me greatly.

The man withdrew his hand, naked except for a floppy work glove, turned slightly to the side, and seated himself on the bumper of my truck. As he sat he began to weep.

Sensing that his immediate threat was over, I returned the pistol to my side. I asked him,

“What the fuck are you doing?”

The man, who I could now see was a slightly graying, Hispanic man in his mid forties, simply shook his head and began to tell his story.

He told me that he had been released from prison that day after serving a ten-year term. He had a daughter whom was barely a teen when he was locked away who had refused to see him or answer his letters. His wife had since passed, and he had no other family in this country.

He told me that desperation had lead him to try to rob me in an effort to acquire some money to embark on a trip to Michigan where he believed his daughter had relocated to a few years back. He admitted that he had made several mistakes in his life, not the least of which was his most recent robbery attempt, and that he believed that he must just be “no good” for anyone.

He sat and wept, and asked me if I would phone the police. Having just been released from prison he would surely be sent back in short order when they learned of his misdoing. He went on to say that he was cold, and that at least he would have a warm place to spend the night, after all, he was a fool to think that his daughter might want to hear from him anyway.

I asked him to take the object from his pocket that I could see through the thin material of his pants. He produced a cheap carpet knife, which he had obviously purchased (or stolen) from the same store in which I had just acquired my Dad’s gift.

I told him that it was a beauty, and told him that I would like to buy it from him.

He looked at me in a confused state, and asked me what the hell I was talking about.

I took my money clip from my pocket, pulled off two one hundred dollar bills from it, and handed them to the man. I then asked him to give me the knife.

After he handed me the cheap blade, I again reached in my pocket and withdrew my business card case, from which I produced a single card that I handed to him as well. He looked at the card and then back up at me in seeming amazement.

“Don’t go buying anymore knives with that money now” I told him. “Get yourself a jacket over there” motioning towards a store in the distance “and use the rest to figure out a way to get to your daughter”.

His face was frozen; he was the most confused man that I had ever seen.

I told him to call the number on the card if he needed anything else to get on his feet and on his way. I promised to help him in any way that I could.

I extended my hand for him to shake, which he did, and got in my truck to drive away.

The man continued to sit there on the bumper, in a form of shock, until I hung my head put the window and told him I couldn’t go anywhere until he moved. He apologized and got himself up slowly, walking over towards a light post where he resumed sitting.

I waved to him as I drove off and in my mirror observed him hang his head in his hands and sob. I had no doubts that this man was troubled, and I felt genuine compassion for his situation.

I returned home to wrap my Dad’s gift and was greeted my girlfriend at the time who had just arrived at my house. I delegated the wrap job to her, and proceeded to tell her the story.

She was in shock, focusing on the robbery attempt more than anything, and was angrily asking me why I didn’t call the police.

I told her that I believed that the man was good, did not want to rob anyone, and that I had faith that he would do the right thing.

“How do you know he’s not going to go get high with your money?” she said.

“I don’t” I replied, “but I really don’t think that’s what’s going to happen”.

Over the next day or two the situation came up in conversation with a few friends, all of who criticized my manner of handling it, calling me crazy and worse. Despite their comments however, I felt good about what I had done, and wished the man well in my mind.

About seven months later I received a phone call from an out of state number. It was a summer night, and I was out with a group of friends. I was shocked to hear that the man on the other end of the phone was the man from the parking lot that night.

He told me that he had found his daughter and that he had moved into a small apartment near her home. He had also gotten a job at a hardware store (ironically) and was working hard to “get his life back” following his long incarceration.

He asked for my address, stating that he had something that he wanted to send me. I gave it to him over the phone, listening to his broken English as he wrote it down intently. I wished him the best, and again told him to call on me if he ever needed anything.

A few days later I got an envelope in the mail with a Michigan return address. I quickly opened it to discover a Christmas card (it was July mind you) with a simple “Thank you” written inside. Also enclosed were a photo of he and his daughter, looking genuinely happy, and two one hundred dollar bills.

I keep that card to this day, and look at it on occasion. Each time I view it I am reminded of how a simple act of generosity by a person who is able, can literally turn someone’s entire life around.

You will not necessarily know what simple action that you take will have this profound of an effect on another person’s life. These opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves to you throughout the course of your life, and the decisions that you make can and will alter the outcomes in your own life as well as those of whom you come in contact.

Give what you can, when you can, where you can. You need not be rich to be benevolent. Sometimes a kind word, a helping hand, or a listening ear is all that is needed to better someone’s situation. Be that compassionate, generous human being because it is the right thing to do, and I promise that you will be rewarded in kind.

Everyone benefits from your generosity.

Share

3 Responses

  1. Possibly the the best article written to date. Why anyone prefers training articles over these is incomprehensible to me.

    November 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm

  2. Shaun

    Perfect example of following Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourself. Inspiring.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  3. Glad so see the A-Z is back.
    This one’s pretty good.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *