What You Do Comes Back
Yesterday, I got one of those wonderful forwarded email we often smile at, but typically don’t read. I read this one, as it came from someone who means each one he sends. It was all about a man who helped a woman in need but didn’t ask for anything in return.
The woman insisted on paying him, but he told her to do for someone else and think of him when he did. She did so and it turned out that the person she helped was the man’s own wife.
I read the email and smiled at the truth of it all.
Once, many years ago, long before you could find an ATM on every corner and your card would work in all of them, I found myself on a turnpike with no cash. I had gone on a one day trip and had given little thought to money as I had a check book and credit card I could use if I needed to.
Back then, my friends would say that I was the only one among them to have any money, but was also the only one to never carry a dime. It was probably due to the fact that I knew that I’d be paying for everyone, so I limited my stash. At any rate, I was driving a new car, so even the change I’d find from time to time was nowhere to be found.
I stopped at the turnpike toll booth and told the woman working there that I had no cash, but would be happy to write a check or mail it back. I was stunned when the woman informed me that I would have to get off the turnpike and find my way on the back roads.
It was late at night and I figured she was kidding or at the very least confused so I drove on down the road, thinking that the next toll booth worker would be more helpful. Less than half a mile later I was stopped by a police officer who told me that I’d better get off the turnpike at the next exit or I would be sent to jail.
I looked him in his eyes and asked if he would want the same thing to happen to his daughter but he smirked and said that he would have made sure his daughter had money.
I got off the turnpike and went to a convenient store for directions. I told the clerk what had happened and he gave me the money I needed to get back on the turnpike. I thanked him and asked for an address so I could send it back and he said, “No way, just help someone else.”
I’ve been doing that ever since.
Years later, I was back on that turnpike and had forgotten the whole ordeal. It was easy to forget; the week after that event I was on The Tonight Show and the week after I launched my own nationally syndicated show, after that I had one book deal after the next, another show, and 5 beautiful children. I have traveled all over the world and have family and friends wherever I go.
Twenty years later, I was back on that same turnpike and had forgotten the that night of unkindness until I pulled up to the booth to pay the toll and saw that the same sad woman, the one who had put me off the turnpike twenty years prior was still working there.
I pulled over and wept. I was sad for the woman and the fact that she was still in the same place.
What goes around does come back around, and sometimes the negativity you send out keeps you right where you started.
Be you, be well, be moving.
Bertice Berry, PhD.