One of the primary lessons I learned from the way my mother lived her life was this – small kindnesses matter. In her day-to-day life she did what she could for others as a matter of course. It was part of who she was as a person. She wasn’t kind to be kind – she just was kind as part of internal operating procedure.
My mother’s way of being provided me with a healthy respect for folks who live their lives with an internal compass that evidences care for others. It is no surprise then that I would be an automatic fan of Joey Prusak. Joey, age 19, works at the Dairy Queen in Hopkins, Minnesota. Joey committed a small act of kindness toward one his regular patrons and has since received national media attention.
Here is how Joey came to draw all this attention. After Joey observed one of his regular customers who is visually impaired accidentally drop a $20 bill out of his pocket and another female patron pick it up and put it in her purse, he asked that she return the money to the man who unknowingly dropped it. The woman refused to return the $20 bill, so Joey told her that she needed to leave because he would not serve such a disrespectful person. After the woman left, Joey took a $20 bill out of his own wallet and gave it to the visually impaired gentlemen to make it right. Then Joey went back to his work without giving the whole event too much more thought.
But there were other customers in the store that day and one of them sent an email to the owner praising Joey’s actions. The owner posted the email on a board in the store and one of Joey’s co-workers liked it so much that they posted a copy on Facebook. One thing led to another and the note ended up on Reddit and went viral.
Now everyone knows that Joey Prusak is a stand-up guy who lives his life with care and concern for others. Joey’s actions remind us that small kindnesses matter in whatever context they present themselves. Bravo Joey Prusak! And bravo to the customer who wrote to Joey’s boss and the co-worker that posted the note on Facebook – without you two the rest of us would not have had the opportunity to learn about Joey’s actions. I know that I represent many folks when I say that stories like this one remind me that the heart of humanity is still beating. It can be seen in gracious gestures and heard in kind words all over the world if only we look and listen for them.
Joey Prusak may only be 19, but it is already quite clear that the way he is living his life should serve as a model for us all. Be kind to others. Stand up for what is right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Rules to live by.
Should you happen to be in Hopkins, Minnesota, make sure you stop by Dairy Queen and shake this young man’s hand. And please do tell him this for me: Joey – this life thing – you are doing it right.
Day one thousand five hundred and thirty-four of the new forty – obla di obla da