Ann Landers said, “At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”
Although partially accurate, she was jesting, because, in truth, people do think of others. In fact, I’ve had a total stranger on my mind this week. Let’s call him Scott.
It started when I called my sister and heard the panic in her voice; her TV had died. I was on my way to visit her, and I wanted her to have a working TV before nightfall. The challenge: She didn’t want a flat screen. She wanted a duplicate of her broken one because she used its wide top for a shelf. I knew stores would have only flat screens, so I stopped at Goodwill, two thrift stores, four garage sales, and gave up. There was no 30-year- old, 13-inch television to buy.
Discouraged, I headed out empty-handed. When I arrived in the tiny town where my sister lives, I noticed a garage sale sign and thought, what the heck, I might as well try one more. I asked if they had televisions, and the wife said, “We had two, but I don’t see them.” A large, young man answered, “We do have two TV’s, but I am not selling them. I am giving them to a little old lady in town. She needs them because her’s quit yesterday.”
Feeling presumptuous and a little foolish, I asked, “Could we be trying to help the same person?”
Curiously, we were.
He placed them in my trunk. Laughing, he said, “I know she wanted the old fat ones, but she is now moving into the twenty-first century.”
He handed me his card and said, “Call if you have any trouble hooking them up.” His card read, DIRECTV. Then, I understood; he was at my sister’s house the day before. The experience was an example of surreal.
At the house, I did as he instructed, and still, the remote ON button achieved nothing, so I called his number. Within five minutes he arrived, worked above and beyond any expectations, and left with two flat screens working perfectly.
To Ann Landers’ quote, others do think of us at 20, 40, and 60, and I am grateful for the kind thoughts I have of Scott, our Saturday hero.
What do others think of you?
Until the next time: Live while you live
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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