I must be getting old and soft. Contrary to Cindy telling me I’m dead inside, I still have a bit of emotion which tends to well up from time to time and spew forth bits of compassion and sap. Such was the case at Zac and Ann’s wedding. I thought about what I would say during my toast to best (and most briefly) sum up my brother. I chose the following story which should inspire all of us to practice random acts of kindness:
It was 1998, shortly after high school, my brother was working on an assembly line at an aircraft manufacturing plant. In proper fashion, he was a hard and dedicated lineman whose supervisor was in awe of his dedication and productivity. He had a fellow coworker who, although a very nice guy, was slightly less productive and seemed to always come up short. So around Christmas, the company saw a dip in aircraft sales volume and needed to downsize the supply chain; therefore with such a decrease in production, layoffs were inevitable. Zac’s boss pulled him aside and told him they would be keeping him because of his extraordinary efforts but since someone had to go, the fellow coworker would have to go. For the sake of the story, the coworker’s name is Jake. Jake was a young guy with a wife and new family. Zac was single and living at home while deciding what to do with his life after high school. There was no way Zac was going to let it happen.
He told the boss it just wasn’t right to see this young husband and father be let go before the holidays. The boss stated simply there was no way around it, someone had to go. The choice was simple. My brother, the crazy Zac, the young dedicated workhorse, the life of the party, made a decision that will always stick with me. One I will forever admire. One I am not sure I could have done myself. Without hesitation, he told the boss to let him go instead…he could bounce back. Without even a hint of selfish hesitation he offered himself on the chopping block. Jake kept his job. Zac hit the street.
While recanting the story in front of the wedding crowd, I too had a tear well up in my eye. It’s a story worth telling. If for nothing else, it is inspirational. If we could all be so selfless. Just one act of random kindness may have changed a young man and his family forever…it’s time to practice and refine the art again…
To my brotha: I love you and wish you all the best life has to offer, you have earned it. Peace.