We celebrated Victoria Day here in Canada this weekend. It’s a very significant holiday for us for many reasons, least of which seems to be the dear Queen’s birthday.
No, the real celebration is the marking of the first long weekend of summer. No matter how chilly it is, you see throngs of people coming out of hibernation to picnic, barbecue and set off fireworks.
All this celebrating seems to leave a lot of litter behind, however, so I tried to do a little collecting on my walk around the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the first thing I picked up was an empty Coca-Cola carton and a treasure trove of empty tins so I ended up having to lug those around for the rest of my stroll.
I was rewarded though, when I reached the park. It’s an older park that used to have only one battered trash bin. Imagine my surprise and delight to see it had been replaced by not one, but two, new bins … one exclusively for recycling! Woot!! (I really must get out more.)
Anywayyyyy, because this is a holiday and all, I wanted to also include this story I came across on the wonderful helpothers.org site. Truly inspiring. Enjoy!
Learning from a cabbie
A couple of weeks ago I was standing out on a cold evening in New York City waiting for a cab to come take me to a nightclub. After about 5 minutes of waiting, I was picked up by a Middle Eastern gentleman in his 30s, and he was clearly angry. Swear words left and right about how horrible New Yorkers were. I knew my cab ride would only be about 10 minutes and there was a part of me that wanted to be silent and just move on with my life, but I also wanted to try and connect.
I asked the man what the issue was, and after some beating around the bush, he told me that he had just come from JFK airport without a customer. For those that don’t know, this is basically $70 in lost fare, which is a fairly big deal. I tried my best to commiserate and share in his frustration.
Over the course of that cab ride, what started as pure anger slowly shifted to inquiry. He mentioned that he had read an article a while back that said the happiest people are the ones who give, so he hoped he’d have more chances to give in his life. I was really starting to enjoy being in the presence of this introspective man! We continued talking about why giving is so beneficial both to giver and receiver and different ways to practice it.
As we arrived at my destination, I paid my fare by credit card (with generous tip), but didn’t want to stop there. I pulled out an extra $20 and said:
“Sir, since we’ve been talking about giving this whole time, I wanted to share that feeling of giving with you. I’ve already paid my fare, but here’s an extra little bit. you can keep it if you want, since you’re already down $70 from JFK. But, if you want to experience the power of the gift, then tell the next passenger in this cab that their ride is a gift from another and they can share their gratitude in whatever way they wish.”
I thought I was being a pretty cool guy at this point! But that’s when the cabbie blew me away. He turned toward me, tears in his eyes, and he says:
“Sir, I have better idea. You give that $20 to a homeless person around here and I will gift the next passenger with free ride myself.”
Wow. This man was literally yelling obscenities to me 10 minutes ago. I got out of the car and walked around for a bit trying to find someone to get a meal for before heading to my destination.
It was an absolute honor meeting that cabbie and learning the lesson of how everyone is capable of giving and totally flooring another with their generosity.
P.S. Happy Victoria Day, everyone! And Happy Birthday, Big V!