We all have friends who may have surprised us with an incredible kindness or perhaps giving more than we would be willing to give. I had such a friend who not only did that once, he did it twice.
Jim and I worked together at Florida Power and Light for 3 years as meter readers. He was much younger than I but we just hit it off. He never had the, "prove to me a woman can do this job" attitude of a few of the guys. In fact, he was quite happy I was a woman. However cougar was not a popular term in those days -- "dirty old woman" was.
He never smiled secretly when I came in patched up from a dog bite or torn jeans from jumping a fence unsuccessfully. He was always helpful and supportive. He listened. He became my best work buddy.
One day I came to work in tears. My dog that I had been treating for heart worms had passed in the night. In those days the only preventive was a daily dose of a foul tasting liquid. Ringo was a stray that had come as part of the deal with my property and was all ready infested with the dreaded worms. In those days, the treatment to kill the worms often killed the dog but I had to try.
I had gotten the little guy past the first rough few days of the treatment but things were going south. All the killed worms were in his lungs and he was coughing mightily. It was the end stage symptom I had been warned of by my vet.
I had put his bed in a vacant room with vinyl floors for the night and in the morning, he lay still in a huge pool of blood. He had bled out through his mouth with the blood covering the floor from wall to wall in the small room.
I was so heartbroken, I just cranked up the air conditioner left him. I just couldn't deal with it right then. Jim got the story out of me when he saw my long face and just told me not to worry, he would take care of it.
I had no idea what he meant till I went home that evening to face the dreadful task. When I walked into the room, it was spotless and Ringo was gone.
Jim had read my meter that day and had taken his lunch hour to bury my dog and clean up the mess. Not a trace of blood was left. I was overwhelmed by his kindness. This was so far above and beyond.
His second A and B came when I moved 100 miles away to another office but same company. My small work truck (we contracted our vehicles to the company) was near its last breath after 300 thousand miles so I bought a new one for the new job.
Jim offered to buy my old one for parts which I basically gave to him with the stipulation that I needed one of the brand new tires I had just put on it. My new one had a tiny donut spare tire and I wanted a full sized one. I moved before we made the exchange.
A couple weeks later, Jim told me he would bring my tire to me if I would be home on the weekend. Thinking he would be arriving in my old truck, I was stunned to see Jim arrive on a motorcycle with the tire strapped to his back. I have ridden motorcycles so I have no idea how he manage 100 miles on the turnpike like that. It had to have been brutal. I'm sure he turned a few heads.
He then strapped the smaller donut tire to his back and returned those same 100 miles. I offered to drive him back but he absolutely refused saying the small tire was a piece of cake compared to the full sized one and he wouldn't hear of me riding back home in the dark. Ever the gentleman.
I am sure he is still talked about by those who saw either trip. I actually Googled it hoping someone had posted the picture but it was before everyone had phone cameras. Darn.
One more time he drove the 100 miles to build me some beautiful cabinets I needed. Jim worked for food, friendship and a kind word.
He and I eventually lost touch after he left the company and I never heard from him again. Maybe he looked for a friend that was a bit less high maintenance. I'll never forget him nor his kindness. He really set the bar of friendship high. You were the best big guy.
Have you had a friend go way above and beyond for you that you feel the need to acknowledge? I just did.
I normally answer each commenter but I have been battling a stomach flu and am not feeling the swiftest so this is for all of you who were kind enough to leave a comment.
Most of you wondered if I had tried to find him. When I wrote this post I had been thinking about Jim but when I used the power of the Internet to see what had happened to him, not one trace. I just hope he is happy, healthy and being spoiled by someone special.