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GUEST COLUMN: We could all find something to do


LUKE DeFREITAS

GUEST COLUMN: We could all find something to do

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I WAS HAVING one of those days. You know the kind. Those days where you are certain that every being on the planet is working against you.

Everything was off track. It was, unfortunately, the kind of day when you are least inclined to think about helping your less fortunate fellow man.

As I approached my vehicle upon exiting a popular South Coast supermarket, I noticed a gentleman examining my car.

He looked up at me from across the bonnet and I did my best to avoid eye contact as I got into my seat. I was certain the question would come:“ya could len’ me a dolla?”  

I was most ashamed with myself when the gentleman turned to me, and I realised he had in fact only one leg and was standing on crutches.

It was, however, not the fact that he was disabled that shamed me. It was his question:  “Can I polish your headlights, sir?”  I clearly judged him too fast and so I asked the price. He said: “$15, sir, and in six minutes they will look like new.”

I thought the service was offered at a fair price, from a sincere gentleman who clearly wanted (or needed) the business.

Although I was in a rush and in no real mood to have my headlights polished then, they did deserve a good clean. So I told him that he could go ahead.

I spent the next six minutes pondering what I frequently do about the handout culture here at home. Too many have grown accustomed to expecting others to do for us.

The Government will educate us, a company will employ us, and the union will protect us.

This isn’t a letter to comprehensively address issues as sensitive as education, employment, or the unionisation of Barbados.

However, it is very possible this disabled, middle-aged gentleman had none of those advantages – and he was better off for it.

He even remembered to do something that most customer service agents here forget, including the cashier who checked me out. He thanked me, sincerely.

Had he asked me for a dollar, he never would have got it. But he presented me a valuable service that took him just six minutes, and instead he got $15.

Maybe we would all be a little better off, and little less bitter if we  took control of our own situation.

If a man on crutches with one leg can bend at the waist and polish my headlights, we could all find something to do. It’s time to rediscover the meaning of pride in taking personal responsibility for bettering our own situations, whatever they may be.

LUKE DeFREITAS

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