Quiet Deeds

Serve others and your community, just because…

Thank you, Norman!  Norman is a gentleman who lives in a neighborhood near me.  Norman is in his late 70’s and takes about a 3 mile walk daily around a circuit.  He isn’t fast; in fact there are days when he walks with difficulty.  He is slow.  This route takes him from his neighborhood, across a busy road and around another road circuit full of up and down hills.  He passes athletic fields, woods, homes by the lake and the entrance to my neighborhood.  Norman is rather dapper, wearing a plaid news boy cap when it is cold and a clean aviator jacket.  In the winter he wears a red scarf.  He always has a plastic trash bag with him.  By the time he reaches the road I live off of, his bag is nearly full of trash he has personally picked up.  He doesn’t wear gloves.  By this point, his trip is about three-quarters finished.

When passing this white haired man I would wave and he’d wave back.  Finally, and I don’t know why it took me so long, I stopped my car red scarfand pulled over to the side of the road.  I wanted to know who this man was.  What was his story?  This white haired man had become a bit of ritual for me; passing him routinely on a daily basis on my way to work.  We waved and smiled at one another but I didn’t know anything about him.

Norman said he lives with his son who works in the racing industry.  His son is single and has a small house.  Norman says it is enough room but not big like where he used to live.  He used to live up north but moved down here after a big snow storm.  He said he was driving to volunteer at the local VFW (veterans of foreign wars) and got caught in a blizzard and the snow blocked the tail pipe to his car.  The carbon monoxide built up and Norman apparently passed out.  Someone found him and he was hospitalized, on a respirator for some time. He said the lack of oxygen affected his brain and he doesn’t think as clearly as he used to.  He said he just doesn’t remember things as well and this bothers him, but his doctors were apparently amazed he pulled through as well as he did.  He said he doesn’t remember names, telling me not to be offended if he has to ask me my name each time we meet.  He has had other health problems in the past and says his doctor does encourage him to keep active.  He has a heart problem but says his walking is good because he gets out in nature.

What Norman doesn’t understand is why people throw trash out of their cars.  Me either.  We live in a beautiful world and we all have too many trash bags at home.  It is so easy to put a couple in the car for the trash we have.  I do this and then divide the recyclables from the trash when the bag gets full.  I put the handles around my gear shift and the bag hangs on the passenger side.

Small things make a difference.  An old man picking up trash to help keep his neighborhood pretty is a small thing.  Norman makes a difference.  He’s an unsung hero in my view.  I think I may have to knit Norman a new scarf so he can rotate them.

An act of kindness, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant goes unnoticed.  You never know who is watching.  Take time to practice random good deeds.  You’ll make someone’s day and bring a smile to your face as well.

Acts of kindness are always good strategies for life.  Thank you, Norman!

About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and she's been a trusted financial advisor to her clients for over 30 years. Have a financial question?ASK SARA!

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