“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
Today’s story is contributed by Bill Bayles.
He was born on Christmas day, perhaps a clue.
This is our nicest story. Why?
It’s about one simple thing — a really nice dad.
People always tell me, “Bill, your dad is the nicest guy in the world!” They’re right. He is.
But Dad had it rough growing up. It was not the “happy home” you might assume. My dad had no dad. His mom disapproved of the drinking and other bad habits. She did her best to keep them apart.
Academically? Last in grades, first in love. My dad finished at the bottom of his high school class, but was one of the most popular kids in school.
His first job? A gravedigger. Yep, that’s right. He dug six-foot holes for those on their final passage. Most would cringe, but Dad did it with a whistle and pep in his step. He was cheerful and nice, a ray of light in an often-sad place.
One day, sensing that his life needed new direction, he quit his gravedigging job. That same week, a friend suggested he should attend college. After my dad explained his less than exemplary high school performance, this friend called his friend, who happened to work at the local college. My dad started classes the very next day!
People have always looked for ways to help my dad. They see into his heart, they know he cares.
Dad graduated and became a preacher, then a teacher.
While having lunch one day at his favorite diner, he sensed distress in the man sitting next to him. He offered his ear. It was a divorce. They spoke for two hours. The man asked if my father wanted to start a commercial cleaning business. Dad’s next chapter had just opened . . . He knew nothing about that business, but he knew everything about people. It was a resounding success.
With my father, it’s never been about “networking.” It’s natural. It’s organic. It’s “friendworking.” He simply wants to help you, to be your friend.
As a teenager, I saw this expecting nothing back, always-nice mentality as a weakness. There was no underlying “what’s in it for me” motive. I felt like he wasn’t mentally tough like many of my friend’s dads.
In time, I came to realize that I was both right and wrong. I was right — Dad had no hidden agenda. He didn’t care about being tough. But I was dead wrong — that is precisely what made Dad the strongest man I have ever known.
At 79, my dad now counsels others emotionally in need. Many of his patients are at the local prison.
They say that nice guys finish last.
In the case of my father, nice guys never finish . . . they just keep giving until their time is up.
A rare person in this world, and a blessing to all. Love you dad.
Bill and his wife, Karen, have three children, Maria, Chelsea and Sebastian. Together, they have founded three successful firms, all related to benefiting not-for-profit and healthcare firms. Bill has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including college foundations and mission-based organizations like Youth for Christ. He enjoys having the opportunity to work and grow closer with his wife and business partner, Karen, and spending time with their three children — swimming, boating, and fishing together.