This is by far my favorite memory of my daddy. Of all the memories I have of him, this is the one that makes me smile, the one that embodies all the selflessness, kindness, goodness and purpose that was in his heart. Once a daddy’s girl, always a daddy’s girl.
When I was a little girl I took every opportunity to be with my daddy whether it be watching him scale and gut fish and fry them or going to the gas station with him. One day my mother was with us and I noticed my daddy standing with a man that pumped our gas and doing something with the dollar bills. I asked my mother what he was doing and she explained to me that the young man was mentally challenged and my daddy was teaching him how to count back change. I noticed while my daddy was doing this that he had a smile that was unlike his usual smiles that I saw when he told a funny story or a joke which was quite often. Being a daddy’s girl there was really nothing that could have diminished my love for my daddy but at that very moment when he got back in the car I realized what made my daddy so special and why I loved him so much.
Every time we went to get gas he would get out and talk to the young man and he even helped him perfect the money counting process by teaching him his own very special ‘flick” of the money. When my daddy got back in the car he would grin from ear to ear and laugh.
It really wasn’t until after my daddy’s death that I understood the magnitude of this small act of kindness. As a matter of fact it was a cold December day in 1984 as my mother, brother and I were escorted from the funeral home to the cemetery to bury my 54-year-old daddy that I realized what a truly great man my daddy was. As we drove past the gas station that this young man, now middle-aged still worked at, I saw a man in a pair of coveralls and a cap stop pumping gas and he walked toward the road. He slowly took off his cap and placed it over his heart as tears rolled down his face. Of all the friends and family that showed up at the funeral and of all the flowers, cards and calls this was the most special and sentimental act of sympathy bestowed upon my family and one of the most precious memories I have today of my daddy and the young man whose life he influenced.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not to just share your riches, but to reveal to them his own.” Benjamin Disraeli
My daddy knew exactly what that meant and how to do it!
I retired from Department of Children’s Services with 30 years service. I also volunteered for 19 years doing the fundraising of our local private “no-kill” humane society.