I recently received a jury summons in the mail and my first reaction was, “Really? I am way too busy to deal with this now.”
Then, in a moment of sobriety, I recognized that the protection of our rights and liberties as Americans is preserved by the American system of justice–which is predicated on the right to a public trail and the right to be judged by a jury of one’s peers.
This caused me to reflect on other opportunities to serve that I had passed on for a variety of reasons (e.g., time consuming, inconvenient, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, etc.) ranging from volunteering at children’s church once a month (“Certainly, others will step up…”) to assisting a stranded motorist (“Surely, he has OnStar or AAA…”).
So I’m thinking about all this when Joe Girardi, the coach of the New York Yankees, comes to mind.
Let me explain…
A friend of mine was in Dallas on business during the American League Championship Series between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.
His hotel was a block away from the Crescent Hotel, where the Yankees were staying. One morning, he walked over to the Starbucks located inside the Crescent Hotel, purchased a cup of coffee, and found a seat outside on the patio.
It was then that he noticed the Yankees coach enjoying a cup of coffee at a nearby table. A moment later, a woman with an itty-bitty dog approached the muscular coach and asked him if he would mind watching her dog while she went inside to buy a cup of coffee.
He accepted. The woman handed him the leash and, for the next several minutes, he alternated between sipping his coffee and petting the itty-bitty dog. When the woman returned, she thanked him, accepted the leash, and resumed her dog walk–oblivious to the man’s identity.
When I shared this story with another friend, she reminded me that after the Yankees won the World Series last year, Girardi stopped at the scene of a single car accident at 2:25am, sprinted across three lanes of traffic, and aided the motorist whose vehicle was precariously jutting into oncoming traffic.
It would have been easy enough for Girardi to have declined the request to watch the dog: “Ma’m, ordinarily I’d be happy to but I need to prepare for tonight’s American League Championship Series game against the Texas Rangers.”
And it would have been entirely reasonable for him to have dialed 911 to report the accident from the comfort and safety of his automobile.
But he didn’t.
The next time I think I’m too busy to volunteer my time or to assist another person, I’m going to remember Joe Girardi’s example and his tendency to put others first–whether or not it’s comfortable or convenient.
And I’ll recall the Arthur Ashe quote: “From what we get, we can make a living; from what we give, however, makes a life.”
Thanks for reading. Now give of your time and make a life.
What makes me smile about the story is that someone of Girardi’s stature could easily have told the woman to buzz off. I’ve seen celebrities (including ballplayers) do exactly that when approached by “civilians” for any reason. Not our manager. It all got me thinking: What would he do if I wandered over and asked him for a favor or two? Like, would he:
- Carry my grocery bags out to my car?
- Hold my sunglasses while I fumbled around in my purse for my keys?
- Call my mother and say hello?
My guess is “yes” to all three.
Oh. Just a quick note about the passing of Sparky Anderson and (belatedly) Clyde King. RIP to both. I hate seeing so many legends going. This has been a tough year for goodbyes.