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Sunday 16 Jun 2024

Above and Beyond
M Adam Roberts

Recently, I was reading a book, written by Dr. Phil McGraw. The title of the book is "Life Strategies. Doing what matters. Doing what works. " I highly recommend everyone read it. It's full of great advice.

There is a chapter, in the book, that, basically, emphasizes this : You will only get what you ask for out of life. He gives about a dozen examples of how, and why, he believes this statement is true. Here is one of them.

Let's say you have a car that you want to sell. You place a classified ad in the newspaper, and list the car, for sale, at the price of $7,000.00. A potential car buyer sees your ad, and calls you up. He tells you he would like to take a look at your car. You arrange an appointment to meet. Upon seeing the car, he finds it hard to believe that you are only asking $7,000.00, for it. He knows the car is worth far more. It's a beautiful car! It's in excellent condition. It has very low miles. It's practically, like new.

After a few moments of consideration, he comes over to you, and says, "I'm ready to make you an offer on your automobile. I'm sorry. I'm not going to be able to give you what you're asking for it. The car is worth far more than that. I'll give you $10,000.00 for it. Take it or leave it. That's my final offer.

"That would be awesome! But let's get real. Life doesn't work that way. It's not going to happen. We get what we ask for, at best. That's just the way it is ", says, Dr. Phil.

I understand the point he is trying to make, and it is an important concept to understand, in life. I agree, with him, for the most part. What he is saying is very true. But not always. There are exceptions.

There are some people, in the world, that go, "Above & Beyond" what they are expected to do, in any given situation. They are few, and far between, but they do exist. I would like to tell you about a few I have come across, in my life, that have made a lasting impression on me.

My earliest recollection of such a person goes back to when I was a very young boy. My mother used to send me over to farmer Brown's house to buy fresh, home grown, vegetables, for our family to eat. Every year he planted a huge garden, which produced some of the finest vegetables you have ever seen.

We didn't have much money, and Mr. Brown knew that. Mom would give me $2.00, and say, "Run over to Mr. Brown's house and tell him you want two dollars worth of tomatoes, please. "I would run and do as my mother said. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it was, except for one thing. Two dollars worth of tomatoes would end up buying much more, from Mr. Brown, than my little arms could carry. I never thought of it, then, but I should have taken my little red wagon.

"Mr. Brown, my mother would like to buy two dollars worth of tomatoes, please", I said, as I handed him the two dollar bills. He would always smile as he took the money. He would then start sorting through his tomatoes to pick out the very nicest ones, he had, for me. He would put them on the scale and weigh them as he went along. When he finally reached the amount of tomatoes, that two dollars would purchase, he would always show me, "This is what you get for two dollars. "And then he would add on some more.

He didn't stop there. "Young man, run over there, in that pile, and get yourself one of those cantaloupes, and bring it over here. Do you like grapes?" He would ask. "Yes, I do, Mr. Brown", I would say. "Well, run down there and get yourself a few bundles off the grapevine. " By the time I got back with the grapes, he would have a couple cucumbers, a few bell peppers, and a dozen of farm, fresh eggs all boxed up and waiting for me. "Can you carry all this, Son? " "I think so, Mr. Brown. Thank you so much for all the vegetables and eggs. Mom is going to be so happy!" I would say, as I headed back home, my arms overflowing with merchandise. "What a great deal! " I thought to myself, for only two dollars!

Mr. Brown was a giver. He grew, most of the vegetables, just for the pleasure of giving them away. I'm sure the money he received only covered the cost of growing them. He didn't worry about making a profit. He never wanted for anything. He was always blessed with plenty, and more than happy to share 0f his abundance.

Everyone loved Mr. Brown. Even as a child, I knew there was something "extraordinary" about this man. He was the first to teach me, by example, the benefit of giving more than is expected of you. He was, truly, a blessed man.

About ten years later, I met another "Above & Beyond, " who made a lasting impression on my life. His name was Harry Tucker. He was a disabled, Vietnam veteran, who refused to see himself as, "disabled", in any way. The man had only one arm, and one leg. He hopped on one leg, using a crutch, for balance. No wheelchair, for Harry Tucker. He was determined to "stand" on his own.

Harry Tucker was a very positive man. He refused to feel sorry for himself. He was proud to be, exactly, who he was. He was, also, a very ambitious man, .always looking for a way he could supplement his "disability" check, so that he could better provide for his family.

One thing he did, to make extra income, was he ran a small, used furniture business out of our local flea market. Later, he expanded his business into a small store of his own. He would buy used furniture , and miscellaneous items, at yard sales, and then resell them, for a profit, at the flea market.

My wife and I, were very young, at the time, just newly married. We were struggling to survive. One month we didn't have enough money to pay our rent. We had just bought a new dining room table and chairs, the month before. It was really the only thing of any "value" that we owned. We heard about Mr. Tucker, that he bought used furniture from people. Out of desperation, we called him up, and asked him if he might be interested in buying our table and chairs. He said he would be right over to take a look at them.

He didn't keep us waiting. He came right over, just as he had promised. I proudly showed him the only thing of value that I owned. He was impressed how nice it was. It was practically, brand new. He asked me how much I wanted for it. I, timidly, asked, "Seventy-five dollars? Is that too much? If it is, I'll take less. " He smiled and said, " I'll tell you what. I'll buy your table from you, but I'm not going to give you 75 dollars, for it. I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight if I knew I took advantage of a nice, young couple, like you and your wife. I know you're struggling to make it, and I want to help you out the best that I can. I will give you $150.00 for it.

Mr. Harry Tucker made a lasting impression on me, and my wife, that day. He showed us that not every one in this world is greedy. He taught us the value of being honest and "fair" towards others. Harry Tucker, just like farmer Brown, was a blessed man. Everybody loved him, and supported him. His business grew and grew, despite his physical handicaps.

Of all the "Extraordinary" people I have ever known, there is one that I must tell you about before I conclude this article. His name is William Quintero. I cannot even begin to tell you his story or the degree of impression he has made on my life, in this short article. I hope, to, one day, dedicate an entire article to telling the whole story of this, most, extraordinary, man. For now, I will give you, just an example, of something he did, for me.

Several years ago, when I first came to the state of Florida, I arrived in the city of Clearwater, completely alone, with absolutely NOTHING. I didn't have a dime to my name. I ended up homeless, living on the street. My life was in trouble. I was going downhill, fast, .physically, mentally, and spiritually. I didn't know what to do. My life was a mess, and it seemed there was nothing I could do to fix it, fast enough. I needed help NOW!

I had heard of a street minister that could be found ,at the park, every Sunday. I was told heal ways brings food to feed the hungry, and that he was a very nice, man. I was told he would go way out of his way to help a person, in any way that he could. I decided to go find him, and meet him, because I really needed help.

What I heard, was right. He was one of the kindness men I had ever met. Full of love, and compassion. I explained to him the situation I was in. I told him how desperate I was, for help. He gave me something to eat, and then he led me to his car. He told me to get in, we were going for a ride.

A few moments later, we arrived at his house. He said that he and his family were about to leave for church. He opened the front door, of his home, and he began to show me around. He then said, "Everything I have, I am willing to share with you. What is mine, is yours, to use, as long as you need. " I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He showed me where I could take a shower, and then he showed me to the refrigerator. "Anything in there, you are welcome to eat," he said. When we get back from church, I will clear out a room where you can sleep. You are welcome to stay here as long as you need. I will not require any money from you. I'd rather you save, whatever you can make, to eventually, be able to get a place of your own. He told me again, he was running late for church, and that he had to go. He said, I was more than welcome to g! o with, he, and his family, but he figured I would probably rather stay home and rest. He told me to make myself at home, and then he left me, all alone in his house! I was a complete stranger to him. He didn't know anything about me. He trusted me with everything he had, and he offered to share, everything he owned, with me, freely.

There is so much more to this story, but I must end it here for now. Of all the great people I have ever met in my life, .William Quintero was the greatest, of all. I have never witnessed a love, and concern, for others, as great as his. Someday, I will write the rest of his story, because people need to hear it.

I want to be like the people I am writing about in this article. I want to be an "Above & Beyond! " just like they are. It has always been a goal of mine to start my own business, someday. I am determined to do it, and I know it will succeed. Do you know why? Because my whole business philosophy is going to be based upon the "Above and Beyond " principle. I am going to give people far more than they expect, and I'm going to do it, freely. I'm going to blow people's minds with my generosity, and concern for their need. And I will enjoy every minute, doing it. That's the kind of person I want to be. That's the kind of life I want to live. I want to leave an impression on people's lives that they will never forget.

How about you? Don't you want to do the same? Then, don't just talk about it, do it! Join me, and become a member of the "Above and Beyond " club. Let's blow people's minds, and touch their hearts. Let's make the world a better place, by giving more than were expected to. Just think, if only, everybody, thought, and lived, that way.

M Adam Roberts lives and writes from Clearwater, Florida.

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