3 Stories That’ll Make You Think Twice

Now and then you hear a story that makes you take a step back and appreciate what you have and the situation you (we) are in. It’s a shame, but often stories or personal incidents are the only things that make us appreciative for each day and our personal positions. Today I want to share three stories with you that aren’t just about you appreciating your situation, but opening your eyes to what is out there, or in other words – making you think twice.

The Shop Sweeper

To give my stalkers a more accurate location to look, I live in an area of Cape Town called Woodstock. For those who don’t know (and any Capetonians will agree), Woodstock isn’t exactly the friendliest or safest area to be in this city. However, the story I want to share with you today paints a much better picture of this small but active town. Now, some details of this may be slightly inaccurate but that is how it goes with older stories. There is a shop about 200m from where I’m typing this that sells groceries, meat and other necessary amenities. About 10 years ago there was a beggar who would go into the shop every day and plead with the owner for a job. The owner, although he would love to help, simply didn’t have any jobs available so kept refusing the homeless man’s offers. This happened daily for a few months, until the owner decided to give the homeless man a job which involved sweeping outside the shop. Every single day from 5am the homeless man was there sweeping up and doing the very best he could for the owner, even if it did earn him pennies. Eventually, the owner saw how good a job the old man was doing and gave him a job working as a cashier. He was watched closely to make sure that he didn’t steal any of the funds, after all he was still homeless. The homeless man worked an honest job as a cashier for over 2 years, and did such a good job that he was promoted to handle the finances for the whole shop. To my knowledge, this was the arrangement up until 2 years ago, when the owner passed away. In his will he only had one request, to give the whole shop to the now stable, ‘homeless’ man. Now, I could walk into that shop and see him working as hard as ever, with his own business that is still popular and active 10 years after getting his job as a sweeper. When I first heard this story I was blown away, it reminded me of a similar story in Do You! where Russell Simmons ended up hiring someone who kept cleaning his shops for free. The takeaway from this story: work hard and give everything your utmost effort, even if it isn’t your ideal situation, it very well may turn out to be.

The Prostitute

Although you might think the title of this story is self explanatory to what I’m about to say, read on. This was an incident that I witnessed personally just over a week ago at work in my office. I was typing away on my laptop as usual when I heard some screams from outside, we work just off a main road and my desk is situated right next to the windows. I quickly rushed to the window to find what looked like a coloured lady (this is the correct term in South Africa) trying to break into the cabin of a truck. The driver was standing on the side of the truck, which was holding up all the traffic, and kicking her in the chest and face to stop her getting in. They were shouting in Afrikaans so I really couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I watched on. Eventually, the man was able to kick the woman to the ground and jump back in the drivers seat, only for her to climb back into the other side. By this time, the drivers from the cars behind had all got out to see what was going on. They were all standing meters away from a woman who was getting kicked in the chest and face, just watching. Although she was going crazy, I really didn’t understand. Eventually, the man got free of her grasp again and drove off with his truck while the angry woman who looked homeless and possessed picked up her stuff from the side of the road and walked on. After speaking to some of my friends who knew what they were shouting, it turns out that this woman was actually a prostitute, and the man in the truck didn’t pay her. The people in the street knew that he had took her home to have sex, and then he simply pushed her out of his truck on the side of the road and went to drive away, hence it looking like she was trying to break in. I can’t imagine how bad it must be to get into prostitution in the first place; but to be chucked out on the side of the road after having sex with an ugly old man that even refused to pay you? Never mind all the people in the street and office windows watching her crazy antics as she held up the traffic. Well, all I have to say is that you have to be thankful for the position you are in now, because it doesn’t get much lower than that.

You’ll Never Walk Again

The first two stories were the inspiration to write this blog post, if I’m completely honest I didn’t already have an idea for a third in my head. However, when I look close to home, I remember one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever heard…my dads. Now, if you haven’t noticed I don’t like to talk about my home life and family that much, I’m not sure why but nobody in my offline world really ‘gets’ what I do so it’s a little bit like living two lives. About 15 years ago my dad was in a very serious accident on his racing (pedal) bike, he was riding on the roads when the car in front of him suddenly braked for no reason, causing him to crash into the back of the car. He broke his arm, some ribs and a few other bones. The doctors said he was very lucky to be alive. That’s not all they said though, they also told him he would never walk again. I was very young at the time so don’t remember any of this personally, but of course it’s a story that has been passed through our household a few times. For the next 6 months my Dad was in a wheelchair, apparently at the time I was very shy around him and wouldn’t talk to him much, probably because he didn’t look much like the Dad I was used to at the time. However, through a lot of hard work and what I imagine were some great doctors, he began to walk again. Today, he is perfectly fine. Actually, perfectly fine is an understatement. My dad, who was told he would never walk again, holds a world record in a 10 man, 10-mile relay, verified by the Guinness book of records just a few months ago. My dad didn’t actually run in the race (he was on call in case anybody dropped out) but could definitely run the times any of them ran in the relay team and he still gets credit from Guinness. On top of that, he’s been an English Standard B running coach for the last 10 years, quite an achievement don’t you think?

What You Can Take from This

I’m going to keep this summary brief because there’s been quite a lot to read in this post. However, the 3 main points you should have all picked up (for those of you who got this far) are…
  • Give every task you attention and full effort
  • Just because you are on the low rung of the ladder now, it doesn’t mean you can’t move up
  • No matter what you say, there really are people worse off than yourself
  • Be open to what is happening outside of your surroundings
  • Doctor’s don’t know anything
  • Don’t give up hope, we each have the ability to do amazing things
I would love to hear your stories in the comments! And no, not the personal, victim mentality stories

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