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The Unselfish Storeowner

he scuttlebutt around the water fountain was on a normal level as the little group conversed about the normal every day happenings in their worlds.

The low chatter was broken up as Trent, an outspoken man got the attention of everyone there when he stated "everybody in the whole world is selfish, thinking only of themselves without regard for anyone else in the world . . ."

Theodore, one of the other men in the group stood thinking of the statement and quietly spoke in response.  "I disagree with that.  And I'll tell you why.  Let me tell you a story.  I go by this convenience store every day to pick up a newspaper.  Over the years I've come to know the store owner pretty good.  One day I noticed a tear in his eye and mentioned it."

The storeowner motioned to a bench across the street at a truck stop.  He said "see that bench?  Everyday for the last couple of years I've watched this little old lady come about this time of the day, and for a couple of hours each day, she sits on that bench and knits.  Buses came and buses went, no one gets off, and she never gets on."

"So one day I had a few minutes and ambled over and sat on the bench beside her and just began to talk.  Eventually the conversation got around to where I could inquire as to the reason for her vigil on the bench every day."

"The lady explained, 'about two years ago my boy left from this bus stop.  I have not seen him since.  He has married and he has a little boy, whom I've never seen, and neither have I seen my daughter-in-law.  He works long hours and they are doing without living in a tiny apartment trying to save enough money to come home.'"

"A couple of weeks later a man, his wife, and a little boy got off the bus and I watched them as they began to embrace.  I saw the pure and total look of joy on that womans' face."

The man who made the statement of the selfishness of everyone in the world was silent.  The man who disagreed and was telling the story paused for a second then resumed.  The next day I went by the store again to pick up my paper and when I walked to the counter to pay for it, I looked at the store owner and said "you sent that money."

"The storeowner smiled a little smile, shook his head in confirmation and glanced across the street at the bench.  Then without saying anything, waited on the next customer in line as I left his store."

"So you see" finished the second man at the water cooler.  "There are still good people in this world."

An observation: neither the man telling the story, nor, the man complaining about the whole world being selfish did anything to right the situation of the little lady.  The one who reaped the joy of helping in that situation was the storeowner.

I finish with this question:  which are you?  The Complainer, The Responder, or the Storeowner . . . ?

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The Unselfish Storeowner

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