GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kindness is contagious and it’s that time of the year when we all tend to catch it.
But I want to draw your attention to a man and his business that’s using the seasons to spread a little more than what he’s asked.
We all have that person in our lives. The one that gives and gives and gives. It could be a sibling, a friend, a parent. For many, it’s a grandparent — at least that’s the case for my wife.
Her Grandma Ann and Grandpa Rich are the types of people that somehow have a warm meal ready and waiting for you when you never even told them you were coming over.
Her Grandpa Rich is a doer — he’s quiet and humble, a Vietnam vet and that works hard. He’s an old GM factory guy that’s cutting the ham and cleaning your plates before you set your fork down after the final bite.
At his house, he gets things done. He builds fences, mows, puts up the seasonal decorations and takes down the seasonal decorations. This time of the year, he takes care of the yard.
Here’s the problem, Rich is battling remission to his throat cancer and it has been a battle. After months of radiation and chemo, surgery and therapy and a tracheotomy, his throat is so damaged that two years later solid food is still not a comfortable option. He’s just finished up a third back surgery and the couple, in their 70s, just couldn’t get to this year’s leaves.
They called a contractor, Crown Lawn Care. The owner, David Cook came and quoted them a price. It was a normal cleanup call, but it was well beyond their budget. Rich is typically the one who cleans the yard.
So, Cook said, name your price. Grandma Ann, the barterer she is countered with a price that cut the quote in half and told Cook even that was steep.
Cook came out himself after sitting up the night before and thinking about the couple’s situation. He picked up the leaves, trimmed the bushes and got the yard winterized. Then he left. He didn’t ask for a check: half or full.
He just did because, as he says, it’s better to give. He knows it’s not a ripe business model, but he told them later, “keep us in mind when life is a little smoother.”
And it is now thanks in large part to Cook, who lifted a burden with kindness he was so easily capable of. He doesn’t want attention or business because of this — that’s not why he did it. He told us he didn’t do it for the glory — he did it for “His glory.” He told me it’s more euphoric than you could possibly imagine when you walk away after helping your neighbor.
We are all capable of kindness. We don’t need a business or a yard, a season or an occasion, we just need a neighbor. Sure, it’s true, it’s better to give than to receive.
But what if we all learned the lesson that Cook is teaching — that sometimes receiving can give so much more to so many. Maybe then we would all find a little more to give.
That’s a lesson worth catching. That’s my cut.