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Ron Jackson: Simple act of kindness teaches all a lesson

August 5, 2018

Once upon a time, all your troubles could be temporarily taken away by merely taking a bath — or so the genius advertising had us believe. “Calgon take me away” was a catchy marketing slogan of a water softener and beauty product manufacturer. No matter what daily situation drained your enthusiasm, it promised it could all be remedied with a long Calgon bath. Simple irritants like traffic, bosses, children or pets could be eliminated with a simple soaking that would lift your spirits in luxury.

If only traffic, bosses, children or pets were the most irritating things today. With a never ending source of nasty national politics and bickering brought to us around the clock, even the softest water with the most appealing fragrance is not effective enough. Who has time to soak anyway?

In a week where it seems like the incessant, regurgitated top stories of the day were more draining than normal, I had to literally seek a safe haven. I read a good book. That did not take long. I had a couple of beers. That did not last long enough. I thought of mowing the lawn. The grass was not long enough to cut.

Like catching a butterfly, patience was my greatest reward. Just when I thought there was nothing out there worth paying attention to, cheering for or watching repeatedly, it appeared. A story of a young man instinctively helping another youngster somehow broke through the madness that is my constant information cycle.

A video of a young grocery store worker stocking a cooler went viral. The video showed the worker taking notice of a teenage male watching him work. After realizing the teen was not wanting any of the cold milk or juices he was stocking, something told him the teen was impressed with the menial task of putting the products in place.

All this took place with the teen’s father video recording it. The worker then offered to let the teen help. The teenager took to the task, with the worker’s encouragement, putting milk and orange juice in their proper places inside the cooler. This lasted more than 30 minutes, all to the overwhelming emotions of the father.

The 20 year-old worker learns that the 17 year-old kid is autistic. Asked why he risked losing his job by allowing a customer to perform his duties, the worker said it was something in the father’s eyes and something in the back of his mind told him to ask the teen if he wanted to help.

This is a short story of instinct, character and compassion — not breaking news material by any means. The worker said he was just happy to be able to make someone’s day a little better. Two young American strangers brought together by human decency provided a teachable moment for anyone who witnesses it. Not breaking news, it’s mending news.

No bath, book or beer could have taken me away like this story of humanity. I have saved it for future viewing whenever I am in need of a fix of decency.

The father, claiming that this was the best day of his life, shared the video with his daughter who shared it on the internet which found its way to me. I hope it finds its way to you. And takes you away from whatever may be irritating you.

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