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HeroicStories #488: 16 February 2004 www.HeroicStories.com
Dear Readers and Friends,
I have enjoyed HeroicStories for many years because they give a true picture of what our human family is really about. HeroicStories are about us. About the small and large gestures of love, caring, kindness and compassion which we show to each other, and which are more prevalent in the human condition than we may realize. When I’m feeling in need of cheering and a cleansing tear, I read through some HeroicStories, and before I know it I’m back on track. If you want to receive these jewels of hope and wisdom, sign up for your free subscription at: http://www.HeroicStories.com
A Golden Example
by Jennifer Waters
Story Editor: Joyce Schowalter
My grandfather, Robert E. Myers, Sr. was born at home in Davenport, Washington on Feb. 9, 1910. Gramps had a well-developed work ethic. Though work was hard to come by in the depression, he always found something. He bought a motorcycle with a hitch, went to a service station with auto repair, and offered to pick up and deliver cars for them. He landed the job by offering to work two weeks for free.
In 1941, Gramps and his friend Mr. Stuart leased a newly-built service station. When Mr. Stuart passed away in 1959, Gramps kept his name on the business to honor him.
People agreed that Gramps was the most honest businessman imaginable. At his station, full and pleasant service was the rule. Often Gramps only charged for parts — repairing bicycles for neighborhood kids was free. If he couldn’t fix your vehicle, he told you who could. One woman got a repair estimate from another station for $200.00, then took her car to Gramps. He said he couldn’t fix it, then sent her to a shop where they performed the repair — for $24.00.
At his station maps were free, as was air, water, and cold drinks from the fountain out front. Sundays he left the air on, so motorists and bicyclists could fix low tires. These extras may have cost some profit, but they built customer loyalty which kept him in business long after the days of full service gas were over.
After a heart attack in 1960, Gramps worked every day but Sunday until he was 87. When Mobil stopped selling him gas, people figured he’d retire. But he did repairs and sold tires from the station several days a week.
Gramps wasn’t a “huggy” person, but his love and respect for everyone showed in other ways. He helped many homeless people, by leaving his restrooms open and clean, by giving them money, and by taking them to a cafe and sitting down with them for a meal.
For years, he began his winter work days driving up and down foggy streets, starting his customers’ cars (often for elderly widows), because otherwise they couldn’t get out. He rescued many stranded motorists and helped them on their way.
In January, 2002, I held my grandmother’s hand, watching an ordinary guy. He had persuaded everyone to take him home from the hospital; he wanted no “heroic measures” to prolong his life. By being at home, he allowed his family to return to him some of the service he’d given to others through the years.
His death taught us how to die — and his life continues to teach us how to live. Because he was simply and constantly true to his ideals, he inspired all who knew him. It will be our privilege to extend to others his legacy of service, humility, and respect for the dignity of every person.
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