Monday, May 5, 2014

ABOVE AND BEYOND


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. 
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30 comments :

  1. What an amazing tribute to Jim and a beautiful retrospective. I hope that he is somehow, someway able to read this someday. He sounds like an incredible person.

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  2. What a really great guy. It must be wonderful to have such a lovely memory of someone so wonderful. You are a lucky ducky.....Oma
    ps glad to see you back here

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  3. One in a million... both of you.

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  4. What a great story about Jim. I believe in the "energy" of thoughts and words. I think they have great power, either for good or bad. I'm sure your loving energy toward this kind man fills his life for the better.

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  5. Sometimes my faith in humanity is just restored by a story like this. What an angel you had there.

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  6. Have you looked for him on Facebook?

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  7. 300 th. miles......WOW. That Jim guy was was a sweet and generous friend. The only kind of working guys I find around here are the kind that charge for every fraction of mile coming to the job. I think they all must be in a club called, "soak the widows.

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  8. We should all have a friend like Jim in our lives. He sounds like such a wonderful, good, kind-hearted person. I hope you reconnect with him some time and send him a link to this beautiful tribute.

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  9. What a great friend. That is amazing.

    I had a friend in high school that once cleaned out all the horse stalls for me when I came down with the flu. This person had zero experience with horses. I am surprised I agreed. It was the fever talking. :)

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  10. WOW! Jim was one in a million! What a lovely post you wrote about him and I too hope somehow he sees it.

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  11. I have met very few men like Jim. What a kind and thoughtful gentleman. Hopefully he will find and read this beautiful post. I feel sure he thought as highly of you as you him sweet Patti. Hugs, give sweet Minnie nose kisses for us!

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  12. It's so easy to feel disheartened by humanity but your post is the positive shot in the arm I needed today. Thanks.

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  13. Oh My---what a great post and story... There ARE people like Jim out there in this world. We just don't hear these stories very much these days.

    I wish you hadn't have lost touch with him... Have you tried to locate him? I've caught up with many old friends on Facebook--and love it... Some people don't like FB--but for me, it's GREAT.

    As Pat from Arkansas said: Jim is ONE in a MILLION....

    One of my best friends got upset with me over 14 -15 years ago ---and has YET to speak to me again, although I've done everything I can to make amends. It was something so silly--yet she seems to just carry that bitterness... Her mother and I became good friends and Cathy got jealous. That's WHY all of this happened... Very sad--since I loved her as a special friend.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. He sounds like a wonderful guy- loyal and a true friend. Those are very hard to find.

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  15. This is such a beautiful post, Patti. Oh yes, we've been blessed with incredible friends and I've written about them too. What a fabulous friend Jim was. I wish you could have found out what he's been up to.

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  16. Truly a kind soul and unfortunate that he just disappeared. Glad all is ok weather wise. Those storms had me worried.

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  17. I have no friend experiences like these, and I have never been that outstanding a friend to anyone else either. These are wonderful stories.

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  18. He sounds like a real gem! No pun intended. Friends like that are hard to find, but I have to say that I'm very lucky to have a good friend who has done so much for me. She offered to make the curtains I had in my craft shop many years ago and brought them to my house freshly pressed and ready to hang the day before I opened. She also made some table skirts with lace toppers for my daughters wedding reception many years ago. Sadly, the table skirts lasted longer than the marriage. Anyway, she is one of those multi-talented women who does a lot for her friends and I'm proud that I'm one of them. I could never pay her back, but I do things such as giving her a set of beautifully embroidered place mats with matching napkins that I bought for a song at an estate sale. I knew she would love them and use them more than I would.

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  19. Jim sounds like a really wonderful person--such generosity and such heart. Rare and few and far between. I've known a few people like Jim I'm happy to say....A life saver in every way....! I wish you could find him Patti---It would be so nice to reconnect with such a kind and caring human being and see how he is doing these days.

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  20. You never forget those kindnesses and continually try to repay them by doing above and beyond for someone else.

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  21. This is a difficult post to respond. Today is the birthday of my best friend who did such things. Her name was Pat and she was killed in a car accident in 1990. I never deserved the kind things she did for me and my children during some very difficult times and I always planned to repay the kindnesses. Sure a few things were done in return but never to equal the giving of self that she always managed. Hopefully you can find Jim someday and let him know what a jewel he was.

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  22. This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story! Those friends that take such amazing care of us really are very rare and so very special. Do you think you might be able to find him somehow? Facebook or any other way online? Only if you're interested of course :) It just sounds sad to me that you lost contact with him.

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  24. What a very special memory you have there, Patti. As to a special friend, then, now and forever would be my caring daughter in law, whose husband and my eldest son passed away fifteen years ago now....

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  25. Sorry to read that you have not been feeling well. Sure hope you are on the mend, Patti. Take care.

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  26. What a sight that must have been! Friends like that are rare. Lucky you, lucky Jim.

    We had a dog that contracted heart worms. Back then the treatment was to give enough arsenic intravenously to kill the heart worms, but not the dog. It was awful; she lost kidney function and was too weak to stand. I suppose heart worm preventatives these days must also contain some kind of poison, but in smaller doses, to kill any eggs.

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  27. Wow he sounds like a really nice guy! No I don't think I have a friend that kind, but maybe that's because I'm not a great friend to anyone else, so you reap what you sew. You must be a good friend too. :)

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  28. It is nice to remember the memories done by the friend.!

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  29. TB,
    Sounds like you have a real winner as an in-law. What a blessing.

    robin,
    I haven't had near what you had. May we both draw healthy breaths for a while.

    Marylee,
    That was the same treatment Ringo faced. Sadly he had so many worms and they had no where to go but his lungs. Sure glad today's preventives are so much better.

    Joey,
    I'll bet you are also. Sometimes we aren't even aware of how our actions may help another.

    Weekend windup,
    Thank you-- I was lucky to have him in my life.

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