The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Feel Good...

Barely home from work, and at the starting line of a four day weekend sure to be culinarily (sure it's a word) hedonistic, full of the always welcome chaos of returning kiddies, and even a little relaxing with Highlander.

Rarely, I have happy work stuff to share, but today, well, I feel good.

Right before I left work, I had what was a most fulfilling conversation with the office cleaning guy, Milt. Milt is an older black man who has been a staple at Rupert & McElroy forever. He and his wife clean the offices, and have, on occasion, done some construction cleaning for us as well.

Milt and his wife have had it pretty rough the last couple years. Milt's wife has developed some debillitating illness that is creating a pretty significant hardship for them. They are, like too many Americans, under insured and the cost of all of the tests and trial and error medications have pushed their already tenuous financial situation just past the edge of disaster. But still he shows up every night to wash our coffee cups and empty our wastecans and vacuum.

He's also raising a teenaged grandson. His daughter is in Iraq, and has been pretty much since things started over there. He doesn't talk about it much. I know he's worried about her, too. I guess you deal with the little pieces that you can and handle the big ones when you have to.

Milt recently lost a couple big cleaning contracts, which has added to his economical woes. And yet, not one time have I ever heard him complain. Not one. He will sometimes ask if any of our construction projects need his services. He will let me know how his wife is doing, if I ask him.

So, after discussing it with a few people in the office, I thought that this year, maybe instead of selecting a family of strangers who were down and out, we should adopt some people we care about and who need us.

When everyone left the office tonight, I asked Milt if he had just a minute. So I sat him down in the conference room. And I talked to this man about how much it would mean to us to help his family this year for Christmas. I explained to him that we adopt a family each year and that it would be such a special joy to us to feel we'd made a difference in the holiday for someone we truly cared about. That we knew he had a lot on him right now and that he would never ask, but that we would love to help in some small way to make things a little better for him.

And he began to weep.

I was concerned that I may have offended him (a risk I'd known I'd be taking). But I hadn't. He looked up at me with tears streaming down his face and with a voice choked with emotion, said, "You have no idea what this means to me."

As a chick who cries at virtually everything, I was amazed that I didn't join him. But I was so incredibly happy to think that he needed the help and that we could give it. Moreover, that it was going to make such a significant difference in his family's lives. All I could do was smile.

He told me that he hadn't known how he was going to be able to have Christmas this year and had been worrying about it, and was so grateful that we cared enough to do this for him. He kept saying "Bless you" over and over as he hugged me tight.

So tonight, I am filled to brimming with the spirit of the season. Have a most wonderful holiday, all of you!


Blogger MJ Norton said...

Beautiful. Both the sentiment and the story.

Thanks for that.

11/23/2006 2:52 AM  
Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

That is truly wonderful. I'm so glad for him and the joy it brought you. It's a spectacular feeling helping someone, isn't it?!

What happens when you 'adopt' a family - do you just give them cash for the holiday season??

11/23/2006 5:39 PM  
Anonymous SuperFiancee said...

Thanks, Mike. It was a rather spectacular feeling and after a pretty rough week at work, it was a great way to end it.

Em -

When we "adopt" a family for Christmas, we provide Christmas dinner, and shop and buy gifts for the kids (and usually the grown-ups, too). Last year, we also added a gift certificate for them to get groceries later, a fruit basket and some homemade cookies and candies.

11/23/2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/24/2006 5:40 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

My first post was, lacking. I just want to congratulate you on finding someone to help who really needed it. I think what you are doing is great.

Our department at work does this too. I even chip in. Just because it's a pagan holiday is no excuse not to take advantage of other people's momentary feelings of generousity and give a little yourself.

This year we have a single mom with six kids.

11/24/2006 5:45 PM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

Thanks for sharing. I 'almost posted' a while back about something that I did; random act of kindness. I never posted because I didn't want other to think... I am glad you posted because, in reading it, I gain back more faith in mankind. (Kinda lacking lately.) God bless ya for stepping up. Peace.

(oh, my word verif: 'cupjoy'. eh, ironic?)

11/26/2006 11:56 AM  

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