Charlie’s Dad is a contractor, and for years he employed an older man from the area. The guy was usually a cantankerous pain in the butt and his skill set was only good enough for grunt work around the job site, but business was good and Charlie’s Dad kept him on just to help the guy out.

You know the type of guy I’m talking about – older, cranky, gruff…but underneath, you know he has a heart of gold. I used to work at a local restaurant seven years ago, and this man seriously made me cry my first week on the job, but by the time I left that job a year later, he liked me because I always remembered his drink (he’d have three of them), his pain in the ass (custom) to-go order, and the exact amount that his bill always came up to be.

A couple of years ago, business tanked, the old man had gotten even older, and Charlie’s Dad was forced to let him go. We still see him around town though, and I send him Christmas cards every year. A couple weekends ago when we met up with Charlie’s Dad at a local restaurant for some drinks, the old guy happened to come in and sit down next to us at the bar. We showed off Stella, and he smiled and mumbled something nice about her.

Well, Charlie’s little sister works at that restaurant now, and when she came over last night after work, she brought us this envelope…

Inside was a $50 gift certificate for an awesome steakhouse in the next town over (the one I bartended at last summer, actually!). 
I saw this, and thought how sweet….and then did he even graduate from high school? I asked Charlie, and he said that he did, but that it took him five years so he actually graduated along with his little brother. He always claimed that he missed a year and that’s why it took him five, but Charlie said that he’s definitely dyslexic, and as a young man, he was known throughout the county (this county – he was born and raised here!) as a guy with a temper who was always looking for a fight. 
We were talking last night about the fact that I’m sure he adopted that tough guy attitude as a youngster to deal with bullying in school. I can’t imagine having a learning challenge like dyslexia in a time when schools and teachers were not equipped to understand it, much less help you overcome it. The guy is 76 years old, so he was in school in the 40s. Can you even imagine?
School came so naturally to me, and sports came so naturally to Charlie… we’ve talked many a time about how we hope Stella inherents those qualities from us. I feel like our child will face so many challenges in life, but I pray that the ability to learn with ease isn’t one of them. 


  1. Aww how sweet of this guy! And I got so sad trying to read the envelope 🙁

  2. What a sweet thing for him to do. You just never know about what someone is going through do you. I am constantly trying to remember that when I get road rage or come up against an asshole customer service person. It can be easier said than done though. 🙂

  3. That is really, really sweet. Reading that envelop made me almost tear up… I have such a soft spot for old people.

  4. Awww that was so nice of him.. The envelope made me so sad for him 🙁

  5. As a brainiac, I try to remind myself that not everyone has the gift or ability to do the things that come easy to me.But it's apparent that he has the gift of kindness. (And I love the term "rug rat"!!)

  6. That's so sweet 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh how nice was that!

  8. Its always a wonderful thing when people surprise you with kindness.

  9. This melted my heart. What a sweetie. 🙂

  10. Wow, it was tough to read that envelope, made me sad! But man, was that nice of him!

  11. Oh my gosh! I'm totally crying at my desk at work! I want to hug that sweet old man for his harships and for his kindness!

  12. […] – Challenges talks about how we know Stella’s life will be filled with challenges, but we sure hope that […]

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