I once worked for Tiger Brand where I managed multiple departments.
By the mid eighties we were growing so fast that we couldn’t hire people fast enough, Cambridge at that time was near void of labour…thank God for the many immigrants from Central America who provided us with solid, honest workmanship much like the people from the Azores.
One day I hired a young Angel Pleitez from El Salvador. In his interview, he was very nervous but handled English fairly well…and well, since he was a warm body and I needed more staff in our prep department, my Angel became an employee of the Galt Knitting Company (Tiger Brand).
When I passed his department on the way to and from my office I noticed that Angel was always working and never screwing around; he was an impressive worker.
I walked by him after a few days and made a mental note that he should have been on lunch….something made me stop and confront him. I needed to be sure that he knew it was lunch time.
When I asked him why he was not in the cafeteria, he nervously told me that he left both his lunch and his wallet at home.
I took out my wallet and gave him ten dollars and told him to go grab something decent out of the machines…then left.
Funny, at the time I didn’t think about doing an act of kindness or anything special at all…I simply helped a new employee then put it out of my mind.
One day I asked Angel how he came to Canada; he told me that he walked, swam and hitch-hiked.
I asked him what he meant by ‘swam’ and he told me that he swam the Rio Grande and a few other rivers to boot.
Funny, at that time I can’t remember worrying about whether he was a legit immigrant or not but that was a time when our country was flooded by new immigrants from the four corners of our splendid little orb.
Two years later Angel came into my office and announced he was quitting the company to join his sister in California. He thanked me forgiving him a solid job, for taking a chance on him and for treating him with kindness.
Then he asked me if I remembered the day I gave him ten dollars to get something to eat.
I hesitated then told him “yes I do and come to think of it, you never paid me back.”
Angel then emotionally told me that he has not eaten for two days and at that time he felt the measly ten bucks saved him.
On the drive home that night I thought about how the little things we often do have the potential to have a big impact…like taking a ham to the food bank, or comforting someone we hardly know who has been terribly hurt or being a friend to someone when they seem lost….building someone up when they’ve been beaten down.
We really don’t need to put it on ourselves to solve world hunger or poverty for that matter; that’s even beyond the greatest minds we know. But what we can do is to make our world around us a little better through little acts of kindness….’cause little acts can produce big results. Be an angel; help an Angel.