On Helping Others
This experience describes how I used Attitudes in my Winners Don’t Quit keynote speech to deal with one of my greatest fears, getting lost, and one of my greatest passions, caring about others.
It happened one evening during my second speaking assignment to the fine old city of Chicago, when I mistakenly got on the wrong train.
To fully appreciate the severity of my fright, understand that the Chicago rail system is huge! Wikipedia reports that it is the second longest rapid transit system in total track mileage in the United States. Having never been on a Chicago train before and having never been to the place the train was hopefully taking me, I glanced around, hoping to find someone to ask.
Everyone seemed to be either busily talking with their seatmate or staring blankly ahead, apparently daring someone to interrupt the first minute of personal silence they’ve enjoyed since leaving the responsibilities of work.
My own personal worry monster reared it’s fearful head. What if your late? Late? If this is the wrong train, you won’t just be late, you’ll miss the whole event! I called to mind the first of my Attitudes under the A in my ABCs, Focus on what you have not what you don’t have. Remembering my blessings made me smile. I would rather be lost on a train than stuck in bed like the doctors predicted, unable to move even half my body.
The bus stopped, some people got off and more got on. A capable looking young woman with shoulder length yellow blond hair sat in a just vacated seat directly across the aisle from me.
For a moment, I felt sheepish about having a significant speech impairment and hobbling around lost. It’s like I was helpless. Then I remembered another Attitude, Don’t worry what people think. The importance and truth of this Attitude made me feel better.
“Do you know these trains pretty well”? I asked, trying to keep the fear from my voice.
Caring About Others
“Sure. Been riding them all my life.” She smiled. “Are you lost?”
Before I could say anything, she continued.
“You looked like you might be lost. It’s pretty easy to spot folks who are having problems getting somewhere. I get asked at least once a week to help someone find their way.”
I held out a piece of paper with the address on it of the place I wanted to go. “You should start your own tour company.” I said.
She smiled. “There’s an idea. We ride the bus and train every day. You’re probably right. I bet we could start a business giving tours.”
“You ride this every day?”
“Sure, we don’t have a car. Saves on gas, insurance, car payment. My husband’s in the army. I just left him at O’Hare. His unit’s going back to Iraq.”
“Thanks you for your service.”
“I’m not in the service.”
“You know what I mean.”
She nodded. “We need to get off at the next stop. I’ll get you on a bus that’s going right where you want to be.”
We got off the train and started down the street. Her cell phone began ringing. She answered it, “Hello.”
We kept walking. Me limping along with my cane and Rachel with an energetic bounce in her step. “OK, good by,” she suddenly said. “That was my sister,” she told me. “She needs me right away. If I thought you’d have any trouble, I’d walk you to the bus stop. But all you have to do is go up to that McDonald’s sign and turn right. The bus stop is right there.”
I smiled. “OK, thank you so much for your time and your service to America.”
She gave me a quick hug and was gone.
Caring About Others
Just before I reached the sign, an unshaven man in dirty pants and shirt and smelling like stale wine planted himself unsteadily in my path and asked if I had a dollar.
I smiled. Some things are the same wherever you go.”
I put my hand on his arm and slowly turned him around, so he was facing the MacDonalds on the corner. Another keynote Attitude came to mind, Care about others. “Come with me, sir.”
I got him set up with french fries, a Quarter Pounder, and a chocolate shake.
A thrill shot up my spine as he began wolfing it down. I couldn’t stay. A bus might come. Standing beside the table where he sat, I put my hand on his shoulder, “Good luck, Buddy, I’m praying for you.”
His mouth was so full his cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk’s. He looked up at me and nodded. I’m sure I saw a tear.
Real life stories such as this are part of keynote speeches performed by Al Foxx – your next motivational humorist and guest speaker.