They Are People Too–#1linerWeds

Today’s one-liner is a lead-in to a much longer story, but some things need to be said. As some of you may remember, I have a few candy dishes on the bookcase near the door to my office. As I was refilling the dishes last Monday, thanks to a sale at Target, one of my coworkers quipped:

“You should really put those away at night. I think the cleaning lady is taking your candy.”

I responded: “at least she’s doing something in exchange for the candy.” A bit of a jab to the people who consume but never contribute.

I don’t care who eats the candy. I like having candy available, and trying to hide it from someone seems petty and mean and I don’t like mean people.

My coworker’s statement reminded me of two encounters with one of our former VPs, back when I was a relatively new employee. He’s long since retired, so of course I’m going to share these:

When I first started, my job involved installing new computers and making new network connections. This work took me all over our office and frequently had to be done after normal business hours. I was working late one night when a woman on the cleaning crew motioned for my help (she didn’t speak English well). She had been using one of our copiers and it had jammed. As I was clearing the jam, she began to seem very concerned. The document she was copying was one of the many forms immigrants periodically needed to file.

After I cleared the jam, I did my best to ask her how many copies she needed. We agreed on a number, I ran the copies and she thanked me.

A few days later, I was walking with the VP when we passed this woman. She smiled at me and said: “hello Mr. Copy.” I smiled back and said hello. The VP asked me to explain and then chastised me for helping her make copies with our equipment.

Two years later, I was entering the new office we had recently moved into, and I was first person to arrive. I turned on the six sets of overhead lights, and as the lights came on, they startled a homeless man who was raiding the refrigerator in our kitchen.

The man walked toward me, very quickly. He was carrying a banana and a couple of cups of yogurt. We each stayed on our own side of the wide aisle and exchanged guarded “hellos” as we passed each other. He headed to the freight elevator (which up until then was left unlocked at the publicly accessible loading dock level) and I walked to my cubicle.

I reported the incident to the same VP, since he was in charge of office administration. I thought it would be a good idea to get the building to lock the freight elevator. He asked me why I didn’t stop the man. I explained that since I don’t like yogurt, I didn’t feel like risking my life for a banana.

He wasn’t amused. He wondered aloud if perhaps I was a “bleeding-heart liberal.” Not being one to keep my mouth shut when appropriate, I pointed to the “What Would Jesus Do?” paperweight on his desk and said: “I think he would have given the man the banana.”

Who among us hasn’t made personal copies, used company email to send personal documents, sent personal faxes and made long-distance calls from our desk phone (back when faxes and phone calls were a thing)? How many of us could move multiple candy dishes, night after night while dusting a bookcase and not take a piece of candy?

To make things clearer, I added a small sign that says: “Help Yourself” to my book case.


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participantso.

There’s a sequence in the gallery that shows two squirrels begging but then hiding as a hawk came overhead.

95 thoughts on “They Are People Too–#1linerWeds

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        1. Among other things, I manage the printers and the budget for toner. I can’t begin to tell you how many personal pages have been printed over time. They might mind, but I guarantee, it’s been done.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. She called me ‘Mr. Copy’ for over a year. Some of my coworkers started calling me that. I’ve know several people who had a ‘WWJD’ item on their desk or a sticker on their car, that seemed to have no clue as to ‘W-J-WD’ – Thanks for sharing on Twitter.

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      1. Exactly. It costs nothing to be nice to people.

        I have a brother-in-law who sees the entire world as those-who-con and those-who-will-be-conned. His entire attitude in life is ‘getting his share’ before anyone ‘gets’ him. Sigh. Needless to say he’s a pariah in our family.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Today on CBS Sunday morning, I saw a portion where a man named Ben got a FB request which he felt might be a con. He ended up sending a message back which said, “If you are from Liberia, send me a sunset photo and I will send you money for this picture. The man in Liberia had requested a donation. So, Joel in Liberia (a black man with 7 kids) sent Ben two photos. Ben then said he would send Joel a $60 camera, so better pictures soon arrived. Ben made a booklet of those people photos and sold them and made $1000! He sent Joel the money and made a bargain, “Now, keep $500 and give the other half away!
          The story this morning had me crying. He put a new roof on his home and bought notebooks, backpacks and a lot of stuff and sent Ben photos of the children he helped. Ben bought a plane ticket and visited Joel. This was an amazing and simple story which touched me and seemed to apply to this post! It was a needy man who didn’t just “take” but “gave back!” Hello, Joanne and hope it also made you feel good. 💞

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That is such an uplifting story, Robin. It’s nice to know that there are people like this. I mean I know they are out there, but we rarely hear about them. You should consider sharing this Friday for WATWB.

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            1. It is online, I’m sure with CBS Sunday Morning. They usually link back on the site. . .
              I was starting to weep midway through it, Joanne. Thank you for agreeing this story was poignant!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Val. The suggestion that I should limit whom to be generous to, bothered me.

      As for the critters, I think they have been caught off-guard by winter trying to hang around. Some of the female squirrels seem to be “with squirrel” so my wife has been giving them a little extra attention.

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  1. Dan, “I could write a book,” as the saying goes. But I’m trying to restrain myself. “at least she’s doing something in exchange for the candy.” is right. I’m trying to stop myself from writing that “book” here too.
    You are absolutely right that some things just need to be said. You’re preachin’ to the choir, brother. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Help Yourself”. Love it!! My desk at work always had a big bowl of candy in the corner. I was also the one everyone went to for a bandaid, tissues, safety pin, cough drop, hand cream, etc. I did it because I enjoyed being helpful, and I enjoyed the conversations that ensued. Except for one guy who constantly complained that I didn’t provide the candy he liked! Funny, I never did! Lol.

    And guess what? One morning there was a big bag of candy on my desk with a note “From the cleaning crew”!! Doesn’t get better than that.

    Kindness and thoughtfulness are so easy to share. It’s something we shouldn’t even have to think about.

    Hooray for people like you Mr. Copy. You make this world such a better place.

    Photo gallery is terrific. Love those shots through the bare trees. Chippy is looking very fit and quite occupied with his stash of peanuts.

    Weather sounds promising for Maddie to relax outside on her cot. Enjoy relaxing with her. Have a candy, or two or three!
    🔹Ginger🔹

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. I’m the guy people come to for a hammer, screwdriver or tape measure. I swear, if I rented that tape measure out, I could seriously augment my income. When my wife used to bake, I would take baked goods into the office. One guy never failed to tell me that he preferred a particular item (one my wife never made). Once, at our Christmas party, he came over to her and suggested to her that I must have never given her the message.

      Chippy seems to enjoy living in, around and under our little porch. We toss a mix of bird seed and crushed peanuts out for everybody to pick through, but sometimes, Chippy gets a private stash.

      40s and 50s for highs, we’re getting closer to cot weather. Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks Frank. Those are the comments that I might not make if I thought more before speaking, but…

      I can’t wait for these trees to have leaves, but I do like the bare branches against the blue sky.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay grasshopper you have snagged two pebbles today. Not bad work for a Wednesday. And it is not even noon yet ! If we can be anything in this world ‘be nice.’ Such a nice box that holds anything good that one can imagine. Happy Wednesday !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amen to all of this, Dan. How PERFECT that the VP had that paper weight, and good for you for not being afraid to speak the truth about the matter to him. I think you handled all the situations the way you should have. And I really like your addition of the “Help Yourself” with a smile sign. We never know if other people are having a rough time and it costs us nothing to be kind. Or in this case, maybe a piece of candy or two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wendy. As I mentioned earlier, some people have that sign/sticker, but don’t seem to think about how to answer the question. If a couple pieces of candy can make someone’s day better, then I am happy to oblige.

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  5. Wow, you even have good candy. :-) Seems to me that if you have candy out on the desk, that’s inviting people to take some, so it couldn’t be stealing (although if someone was taking lots all the time, it would be irritating.) I think people’s hearts need to bleed; it’s just what we do after that that matters.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet – yeah, I buy the candy, I like to eat. Some of the heavy hitters do drop off either candy or money, but overall, the operation runs at a net loss. I’m ok with that. I don’t think the act of thinking about others and their problems is a bad thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good idea to give the homeless guy a wide berth in that situation. He was probably badly off and needed a break — or he could have been a little unstable, in which case he may have been dangerous. (There are a lot of off-their-meds types outside Union Station who give off that vibe, though I’m always glad to buy a sandwich for the calmer ones.) As for the candy, I have a small candy jar on my desk too, but it’s best for me if I stock it with anything other than peanut M&Ms. I have a real weakness for them, so I’M the one who winds up finishing them off! :P

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. If I put these dishes on my desk, I’d never get any work done. I cannot type and unwrap at the same time. We had a break-in at that office. Someone stole about $1,000 worth of computer equipment. The same VP didn’t want to deal with the hassle of fileing a police report, but I was supposed to wrestle a homeless man to the ground over a banana. Very confusing logic.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Why put candy out and then not expect people to take it? And why not let a homeless person take a banana, especially if he looks potentially violent – at least he wasn’t stealing office equipment or something. As for the cleaning lady, I’ll bet she is not, in fact, taking any of the candy. Most of the cleaners I know are terrified to take so much as a paper clip because everyone always suspects the cleaners whenever anything goes missing. I’ll bet your co-worker is helping herself to extra candy and blaming it on the cleaner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. It’s candy. With the dog and the two cats, we don’t do Halloween, so I’ll consider this the offset of that. I’m glad you liked the pictures. It was weird seeing the squirrels run and hide. I didn’t see the hawk until it flew away, but they knew when it was overhead.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I worked with a man who made a fortune but would spend the night at the office (marriage problems) and eat anything anyone stored in the kitchen. I came in the office one morning and found he’d eaten a bag of chips we were saving for an afternoon get together.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had another guy in the office with a large WWJD sign on his desk. He was rambling on one day about this and that and them and those, and I tapped the sign and said: “he would probably smack you upside the head.” He just laughed. The odd thing is that in many ways, for most of my life, I considered myself a conservative. Somewhere along the line, the line moved. I still have the same values I was raised to abide by, but I guess that’s not what they’re looking for these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then there was the cop who pulled a lady over out of traffic. She said, “Did I break the law?” He said, “You cut in front of a guy and gave him the finger. You were shaking your fist and cussing. Then I saw the WWJD sticker on your bumper, and I thought — damn! that car is stolen!”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Says the woman who has cared for umpteen stray cats…Thanks Amy. It’s just the simple realization that none of us are inherently better than any others among us. We lead different lives, but we’re all people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (GRIN) Takes one to know one, Dan! My philosophy is the same … people are people are people …. letters behind names or status or whatever does not impress me. Oh wow …. just looked outside … guess what? It’s snowing! I WAS going to crawl in my garden to find something. Huh. Ya can forget that idea! Honestly! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, your title hits the mark. Sad, when people “go by the book” instead of “go by people.” It may sound strange, but I’ve never worked in an office where they had candy dishes. (plenty of desserts in the office’s kitchen though).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. We’ve always had some kind of common snack. For a long time, it was pretzels. We’re a very small group, and these have been there for years, but some people still ask if they can have s piece. I guess the word spreads slowly. Baked goods in the kitchen seem to flow from people that still have children at home.

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  10. I wish there was a “love” button for this post! Many of your posts have given me a smile or a chuckle (maybe even a laugh out loud sometimes) but this one brought the sting of tears to my eyes. I’m pretty sure Jesus would not only have given that guy the yogurt and the banana, but he’d probably fill your candy dish once in a while.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you so much. I love the way you guys accept all the twists and turns I take. I like to entertain, but there are stories that lend themselves less to funny than others. I’m sure Jesus would have let the man have the food.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Such a good post, Dan: a reminder to all of us that kindness is easier than the sort of paranoia the drove the vice-president to act as though he was perfect while questioning the kindness — and needs — of others. I loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. Some people quickly forget the many times they’ve been helped and the number of people who have helped them along the way. They look back and think “look what I have done.”

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  12. Aww, Dan. This is such a nice post! We all knew you were a good man, honestly a very kind one. The VP was wrong in two ways, confronting someone over food may actually turn a homeless, hungry man into a mean one. Why risk this? I give to local homeless people, you have written a post about giving without judgement before. . .
    Candy on clearance is happiness to many coworkers! 🍬🙂🍫😋
    I usually give new coworkers gum, when I find it on sale. Blowing a bubble of sugarfree bubblegum lifts my spirits! 🎈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such an easy thing to do, and I’m sure it makes them happy. Someone sharing a small happiness always brightens my day. I’m sure you brighten theirs! And there is something glorious about blowing a bubble :-) or should that be :-o

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