Pay it Foward
For anyone that knows me they know that one of my favorite events every year is the Kids Fund Carnival at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It is hard to describe the indomitable spirit of the staff and the patients at this incredible institution and to feel that you are making a difference albeit for one small part of one day is very nice. I look forward to the day and get so much more out of it than I give it is a wonderful event.
Every year something new comes out of it and this year was no exception. We were working with some of the kids, and a staff member that was with them caught my eye. Truth be told what really caught my eye was the White Sox hat he was wearing. How in Red Sox country on a field called Tim Wake Field (in honor of the now retired Sox knuckleballer) could he be wearing a White Sox hat? After a few not so gentle barbs about his choice of hats we struck up a conversation. Initially we chatted about baseball and other sports but then I asked how long he had been at the hospital. Seven years was his tenure but the story of how he got there fascinated me.
An opening line of “I was a really bad kid, one of the worst you could ever meet but I had a mentor” is certainly a way to start any conversation. Despite his troubles, his mentor’s support never waivered and never died. He kept after this troubled youth to turn his life around and finally he got through to him. He finished school and went to work at a hospital and eventual got a job doing data entry making good money. He never lost touch with his guardian angel – his mentor and wanted to know how he could pay him back. This individual had supported him, encouraged him, stood by him and even bought his first suit for him and my friend with the White Sox cap wanted to pay him back. In the true spirit of charity, all that the benefactor wanted from this individual was that he do for another what had been done for him. Knowing that his Guardian Angel was on the Board of Franciscan Hospital for Children my White Sox cap-wearing friend left the job he had and went to work at FHC. He has been there for 7 years making a difference and helping others navigate their struggles and challenges. You could tell from the tone of the conversation that this was now more than a repayment of a debt; this individual had found their calling; their vocation.
Whether they realized it at the time or not they were paying it forward. I applaud both of these individuals for being able to look beyond themselves and see where there was a need and stepping up to help. They should be an example to all of us. Many of us, myself included, either take what we have for granted or get so caught up in our own lives that we forget about others. I am glad that some people make the needs of others a priority. Remember if someone has helped move you along in life please pay it forward for others.
Ken Abrahams; VP of Client Relations