1 - Most Important Lesson

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop
quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the
questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the
woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman
several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would
I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would
count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your
careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve
your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."

"I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was

2 - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on
the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm.
Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet,
she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to
help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man
took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi
cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and
thanked him.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise,
a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was
attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my
spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to
my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you
for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy
entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass
of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins
in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By
now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing
impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied."

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice
cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
the table and walked away.

The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the
waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.
There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five
You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough
left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson - The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid
himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some
of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply
walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads
clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the
boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone
to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally
succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he
noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse
contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the
gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle
presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to
know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious
disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion
from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same
disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the
little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I
saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and
saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed,
he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the
color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile
faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice,
"Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had
misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her. You see, after all,
understanding and attitude, are everything

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