What a beautiful morning
I arrived early the night before where the next day I would be photographing the individuals who would receive an award for meeting goals, being innovative leaders , and for achieving a milestone in their career. Early to bed and early to rise was my theme for the day and at 6:45 am I was up and ready for my breakfast.
I was surprised when I had arrived the night before when I was given a coupon for a free breakfast and I was looking forward to this moment. The waitress came directly to my table and asked what I would like to drink. “I would like coffee please with creamer, and may I use this coupon for my meal?” She told me the plates would be right out. She was so nice to me from the moment I sat down and as I waited on the coffee, I admired the cleanliness of the restaurant and the chipperness of the morning crew. In just a few minutes she was returning with my plates. Two eggs, three strips of bacon, hashbrown potatoes, toast, jelly and orange slices. Yum this looks great. As I thanked her for the meal she asked, “is there anything else I can get you?”. My response was that I was fine and I thanked her for being so nice. The meal was great and as I sat there and thought, I began to wonder just how many people had a hand in getting this breakfast to me. First it took at least 5 people to work the chicken house that supplied the eggs, it took another 5 people working the orange trees that handpicked the fruit. It took another ten or twelve individuals to harvest the wheat, drive the truck, bake the bread and deliver it to the hotel, at least four individuals to get the bacon from the pig and to me and what about the coffee bean pickers and the factory workers who crushed the beans to make the coffee. Then the truck drivers and warehouse workers and the motel workers.
Did they communicate with each other as they made their incidental acquaintances. How many hundreds of individuals does it take to put a breakfast on a plate in a hotel? Do we take the time to say thank you to the last one in the line of labor who delivered the goods to us?
We live in such a time that very often a Thank You is left out of the conversation. Sure everyone got paid but it takes a lot of eggs and bacon to make a few dollars to make the house payments. How much better of a life or a day will the other person have if I choose to make a difference in their day. Thank you for the opportunity to eat in this nice restaurant and thank you for your smile, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to refill my coffee and the atmosphere here was fantastic. Don’t you like to be told you are doing a good job? We need to recognize the laborers and the workers more than we do. We should take the time to recognize that every one of those individuals have a life of their own and they each play an important role in making my morning great.
The breakfast was great, and as the waitress made her last trip I asked her if I could speak with her manager. She introduced me very nervously not knowing what I was going to say. I introduced myself using only my first name and informed the manager that I had just eaten one of the finest breakfast meals in my life and that the waitress was on time and very cheerful and had performed most excellent. The manager smiles and thanked me back and then began to tell me about how they were going to renovate and the next time I came in it would be even better. What kind of day do you think those people had when our conversation was over? What kind of day do you have when you are shown a little appreciation?
I’ve always heard that a bird with one leg can’t survive. This makes perfect sense in that if a bird only has one leg, it can’t land and if it can’t land, then it can’t take off. So the theory that a bird with one leg can’t survive sounds perfectly justified right. Wrong….. it seems that I’m always finding a story when I go somewhere to eat. Just recently while on the job, I pulled into a Hardees in Big Stone Gap, Virginia and ordered a special ham sandwich with pickles and onions. While sitting alone and looking out the large window in front of me, I saw a flock of birds land in the grass and one bird kind of stumbled when it landed. My eyes went to that one bird as I watched it hop and stumble. It was just another bird with the exception that each time it moved it would hop and stumble. Soon for whatever reason, all of the birds flew into the air and took up a new position just outside the window. This one little bird flew straight toward the glass where I was sitting and I saw up close why this bird was acting differently, it only had one leg. I was amazed as it went about just like an ordinary bird with the exception that when it took a long stride it would hop and stumble. That didn’t deter that bird one bit, it was normal in every sense. The theory was wrong. Just because a handicap may be obvious to us, we shouldn’t pass judgements that a person isn’t able to do something.
This little bird was perfectly able to do what birds do. I had a teacher in high school Mr. Sturgill, and he had a prosthetic arm in the form of a hook. He could open doors, pick up a book, dress himself and more. One day I was running down the hall as an excited teenager would, “I was on my way to see my girlfriend”, Mr. Sturgill reached out and grabbed me by my shirt. I was stopped immediately. He wasn’t handicapped, he was normal….. he was different, but he was normal. We all know the name Hellen Keller. She was deaf and blind but she was normal. She didn’t let what we call a disability hold her back, she was an author, a motivational speaker, and a social activist who inspired and still inspires others to greatness.
I watched that bird hop and stumble but it kept going. Then it spread it’s wings and in just a second of time it used it’s one good leg to launch into flight once more. I watched as all of the birds grouped together into a flock and this one little bird once again blended in to the flock. With winter approaching, I know it will survive. Theories are only that, “Beliefs that we have but are not proven.” Another form of Prejudice : I wonder if anyone had told that little bird that it was not possible for him to fly, would he have given up?
The Power of Positive Speaking
While traveling home yesterday from an away meeting I was craving a special chicken sandwich from one of my favorite spots, “Chick-Fil-A”. It was a long drive home and I was really in a hurry to make the 6 hour drive but my overwhelming urge for my favorite Chicken Sandwich overcame me and I found myself looking at each exit for the eatery signs. Finally I found my desired spot. With my stomach growling and my mouth watering, I pulled in to this Oasis on the Highway. You have to know that I don’t like waiting in lines so as I pulled in to the parking lot, my number one goal was to spy out the crowd. I drove slowly past the front glass and saw what looked like dozens of hungry customers and of course I didn’t want to stand in line so I drove slowly on around to the drive thru. As I made the turn I saw several cars already in line and of course I didn’t want to wait in this line either. As I sat there for a moment this car sped around me and took my place in the drive thru. I said to myself, ” that was a dirty thing to do”, just as another car also found his place in line behind the first car. With my calm cool self I pulled into an empty space just in front of the double doors so I could quickly make up my mind as what to do next. People were coming and going pretty fast and I was looking at the time, cause as I already said, I was in a hurry. I strategically opened the driver door and gently put one foot on the ground while I tried to decide if I wanted to pull out, go through the drive thru or go inside and fight the crowd. In my moment of undecision, there were three more cars that took my place in the drive thru and two more couples had entered the double doors. Lesson #1, If you don’t make a decision, you don’t get anywhere.
Quickly I finally made the decision to go inside and fight the crowd. As I slipped in silently I was also looking for my opportunity to find my place in the line. Now you have to get this picture in your mind. The door opened and the crowd of people were all standing at the counter and the waitress was moving as fast as she could but the line just wasn’t moving. The young lady behind the counter was refilling tea and delivering trays as efficient as possible but in my intelligent smarts, I knew something just isn’t right about this situation. Too many people in line and too much counter space on the other side told me that there was another register open but no one had realized it. Quick as a bunny rabbit, I said, “Excuse me sir”, and I slipped on through the line and ended up in the right place at the right time. I was second in line to a customer that had just finished getting his change and this told me that I was next. I was elated and ready to order. As the waiter looked at me and before he could say anything, I said, “My name is Eddie and I will be your customer today!” He laughed and took my order.Lesson #2, Look for opportunity in the least expected places if you don’t look, you won’t find.
I have to say that the Chick-Fil-A combo really hit the spot. I sat there and enjoyed it to the fullest and took that moment to appreciate all that I have waiting on me when I get home. I have the most wonderful wife waiting on me and two great sons that I want to see when I walk through that door. I have my parents just down the road and I love them so much, beyond that…. there are two Great Pyrenees dogs and four goats waiting to be fed. Lesson #3, Take a moment to yourself now and then and Appreciate what you do have.
The Power of Positive Speaking