Monthly Archives: October 2014

Acts of Kindness

Woo’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning.

“Mrs. Woo, I have three shirts for dry cleaning.  Also, I have these three pairs of slacks that need to be cleaned and altered.  The bottom of the trousers need to be hemmed to prevent them from fraying.  Can you do?” said Geoffrey.  “Yes, we can hem your slacks.                  I charge eight dollars per pair.  Let me take a look at them.  Two are fine, but the third we cannot do.  Did you try to do it yourself?  Look, the pants legs are ragged and frayed. There’s not enough material to do them.  You can pick them up on Monday.”  “I need a pair by tomorrow, Saturday afternoon.  Can you please help me?  One pair of slacks and one shirt will do to wear to work on early morn, Monday.  I can pick up the others on Tuesday,” said Geoffrey with a panic in the sound of his voice.  “Sorry, I cannot do them.  My pressers have left for the day and will be back on Monday to do them for you.  We do not do dry cleaning on weekends.  Certainly not altering.  It’s just not possible.  Tell you what, I will do one shirt and one pair of slacks.  I will wash them by hand and press at no extra charge,” said Mrs. Woo in a kind motherly tone of voice.  “Thank you so much, Mrs. Woo.  I will pay you extra,” said Geoffrey in relief.  “No need, I will do them so you can keep your job.  You need to take better care of your clothes.  What would your mother think?” said Mrs. Woo with a smile.  “My mom used to do all my laundry for me and altered all my clothes. I really miss her,” said Geoffrey.  “Do you miss her or do you miss her laundry work?  You can pick them up tomorrow morning by noon.”

Quality shows and bank the dough.

“Hey, Mr. Barnes.  How goes it?  Your lawn could really use a haircut.  I will do it for free,” said Charlie at ten with purpose in his life.  Hoping, this time, that he will get some referrals from Mr. Barnes.  Thinking to himself, Mr. Barnes reflects…Oh I do remember the haircut he gave my perfectly manicured St. Augustine.  He butchered my lawn with a mower of only two wheels.  One on the left front and the other on the right back.  A perfectly unbalanced cut that had the neighbor next door, Mrs. Busybody, looking in horror and threatened to report me to the Homeowners Association.  She needs to mind her own business.  He’s a good kid, maybe I should give Charlie another whack at it.  I will let him try again with a new new lawn mower perfectly balanced by all four wheels.  He could use my mower instead.  I do not want him to use his weed whacker ever again. Only mow the lawn. Let’s see what he can do for nothing.

“Hey, Charlie, let’s talk lawn mowing.  Have you improved your lawn mowing skills?” “Oh, yes sir, my mower has four wheels now.  Two small wheels in the front and two large wheels on the back end.  A much better cut this time.   You’ll see.  I cut three lawns a week.  I have references,” said Charlie proudly and thinking to himself…I wonder why Mrs. Bates, Mr.Smith, and Mrs. Logan won’t let me mow their lawns again.  One said, well it was Mr. Smith, go cut Mrs. Busybody’s lawn, but she talked ugly to me and said to get on down the road.  I wonder why?  I did mow three lawns, but I don’t have any references.  He’s such a nice man, I doubt he will ask.

“Charlie, I’m going to give you a chance to redeem yourself.  You can use my mower to cut the lawn.  My lawn in the front is an easy do, but the backyard will require a lot of work.  It is overgrown.  About three feet in height.  Also, there are oranges on the ground that dropped recently from the trees.  You must be careful,” said Mr. Barnes. “I got just the thing to  lower the height of the grass, so the lawn is mowable.  I have a new weed whacker and it can cut through anything,” said Charlie.  “Oh no, I will do the weed whacking and you can pick up the oranges before you cut it, said Mr. Barnes with insistence.”Okay, Mr Barnes, it’s your lawn, I will mow it as you like it, you’ll see.”  “What do you charge now for your lawn service?” said Mr. Barnes hoping that Charlie will agree to his terms.  Five dollars for the front and ten dollars for the back.  A fair deal he thinks.

“I said I would do it for free, but it is a lot of work, I have to charge.  Next time, when the lawn is in manageable shape,   I will cut it for free. I’ll charge you five dollars for the front and ten dollars for the back.  But it is a lot of work and will require more fuel to do it. That will be an extra five dollars,” said Charlie playing hard ball for an agreement on his terms. “But, Charlie, you’re using my mower and it’s free for you to use.  It’s fifteen dollars, plus I have a bonus for you, if the lawn is mowed to my liking,”  said Mr. Barnes countering back to Charlie’s offer. “That’s not fair, I can’t continue my service for that amount.  I’m in business, you know,”  said Charlie with a smug attitude. “As I said, Charlie, you will get a bonus that is worth your while. You’ll see.  Agree?” said Mr. Barnes. “Okay, it better be a good bonus,” said Charlie with hesitation. “It is something special to me, I want to pass it along to you.  I need for you to be here early Saturday morning.  I’ll feed you a nice breakfast, then we’ll get started. See you then?” “See you then, Mr. Barnes.  Remember, the bonus better be worthwhile.”  “We have struck a deal, Charlie.  It’s Saturday, remember. Now, go cut your other lawns.”

“Good Saturday morn, Charlie. You’re extra early.  I wonder what motivated you,” said Mr. Barnes with a grin.  “Well, I never, ever, miss breakfast.  Now, what’s on the menu?  It better be to my liking,” said Charlie. “Here it is to your liking, bossman.  I think you like mush. Just kidding.  A delightful breakfast of fresh fruit and a granola bar to give us both the energy to do a great job. Well, it looks like you’re done. Let’s do it!” “Let’s do it, Mr. Barnes. The bonus better be good,” said Charlie pressing his luck. “You’ll see.  It will be something worth passing on to you,” said Bill Barnes.

“Here we are, Charlie.  I’ll start clearing the brush back here.  If you please, go mow the front lawn nicely.  Remember, you are a professional and in business for yourself.  Keep the customer satisfied.  That be me.”  One hour later.  “Mr. Barnes, I’m done. Ready for you to inspect.”  “It looks great, Charlie.  You have earned your first five dollars.  Let’s go to the back.  Oh, hello, Mrs. Busybody.  Does everything meet your approval?” said Mr. Barnes sarcastically.  “Yes, it meets my approval. When I saw him mowing your lawn again, I got concerned.  Charlie, you did a great job. I might consider your services, but I think not.” “Let’s go to the back, Charlie.”  “Let’s go to the back, we don’t need her minding our business.  You know I have a reputation to keep.”

Three hours later.  “Well, Charlie, we’re just about done.  Just pick up the good oranges        I missed, then we will be ready to go.  Okay, here’s your ten dollars that you earned. You now have your fifteen dollars. Let’s get cleaned up and have some fresh juice before we go.” “Where are we going, Mr. Barnes?  I can’t wait to get my bonus,” said Charlie with anticipation. “We’re just about there. I can’t wait to pass something special on to you.”  “Mr. Barnes.  why are we at the bank?” said Charlie a bit puzzled.  “Let’s go inside. Something special is about to be passed on to you.  You’ll see,” said Mr. Barnes in a very happy voice with a smile on his face. “Well, Mr. Barnes, what is it and where is it?”  “Are you ready for something special? It’s special to me and I’m passing it on to you. Now, close your eyes and open when I say so. Open your eyes, Charlie.  This is for you.  You see it is quite worn.  Brown leather cover, but what’s special is inside.  Open it up, Charlie.”  While browsing the passbook, Charlie said “The pages are yellow with dates stamped on each line of the page. I see a deposit for fifty cents from long ago.  Nineteen fifty four. Is that a year?  There are lots of dates stamped on each page.  Lots for fifty cents, then there are one dollars stamped for every week.  Then the amount has gone up to five dollars.  The whole book is just about filled with dates stamps and amounts of money.  It shows a balance of fifty dollars.  Why that amount?” said Charlie with interest. ” Yes, there is a balance of fifty dollars and this passbook is for you.  It’s a savings passbook.  It was my first savings account.  You’ll notice that there are extra amounts added to my account.  Ten cents, twenty-five cents, and one dollar.  That’s called interest paid to me by the bank for the use of my money.  Yes, I made money on my money.  So can you.”  “Never heard of a savings passbook, and the money earned really caught my interest.  I’ll make money on my money because I keep it in the bank.  That’s really cool.  I like that idea.”

“Well, Charlie, are you ready to make your first deposit, I mean, put money into your account to save?  There’s already fifty-dollars in your account. It’s good to always save a part of your earnings.  You’ve earned fifteen dollars today.  I suggest that you save five dollars and use the ten dollars on yourself or invest it back into your business.  Try to save twenty-five percent on all your earnings.  Here, this is for you.  It’s that extra five dollars you wanted for your lawn service.  Now you have twenty dollars. Twenty-five percent on twenty dollars is five dollars.  So, save the five dollars.”  “I want to save ten dollars to build up my money fast to make more money till I’m rich.”  “No, be consistent with twenty-five percent.  Don’t rush to be rich.  If you save fifty-percent you will most likely take money out.  You don’t want to do that.  Most banks today don’t have passbooks, your savings are electronically added to your account.  They will give you a receipt for your deposit and on the receipt it will show your balance.  Nowadays, most banking activity is recorded in your online account on the bank’s website.  Just enter your secret security code and it will open up your account.  The easy way to do banking today.  Right at your fingertips at home on your computer.”

“Mr. Barnes, I don’t know what to say, but thank you.  I will always keep this passbook as a reminder of you that got me started with saving money.  Hmm, making money on my money?  I like that.  I’m a businessman, you know.”  “Yes, I do know it.”

Acts of kindness are random and done to benefit someone else without expecting anything in return.  A good deed for the day.  They are quite powerful in that they can inspire others to perform acts of kindness.