Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Uncommon Kindness

As the year is coming to an end, I want to tell you a story of an unusual act of kindness. I like to think of myself as a kind person; as are most of the people that I know; and on occasion I will go out of my way for someone, even if it means my own inconvenience; but I recently experienced an act of kindness that went far beyond that of what's common and as I was astounded by this person's generosity of spirit, I feel compelled to tell this story.

I have been working for my employer for approximately 12 years and although they've never paid me what I deserve, they have been very flexible with my schedule and they've even allowed me to work from home for the past 2 1/2 years; so I suppose you can say that I am sacrificing my pay for their adaptability. People often ask me why I don't get a different job and the truth of the matter is that I WANT TO BE A WRITER and until I can find a job as a paid writer, it doesn't make much sense for me to take something on that is just going to be another " JOB." Additionally, the hours that I would be available to work away from home would be limited, so it would have to be a very well paying JOB and in this economy such a position is hard to find.

Now, like I said a couple of posts ago, I've been sparing you the current woe is me of my life as I am acutely aware that my present situation is not unusual; but as it is pertinent to this story; I'm going to share:
In August all of the employees at my company were advised that business had not been going well; and therefore, we were all going to have to take a pay cut. I can't disclose the percentage of the cut; but suffice it to say that it meant hardship for my family.
In September Luis was told that he and all of the other managers at his hotel were going to have to take 8 days off without pay by December 31st.
And in October I was told that I needed to reduce my hours from 40 to 32 per week, as the company was having cash flow problems. The person who broke the news to me said "We're making reservations; we're just not collecting enough money for them." Now as the person who collects the money, this statement certainly left me to wonder "If I'm the person who collects the money, how can we afford for me to work any less?" I asked a question to this affect but regardless of the logic the company had decided that all 3 women in the accounting department were going to cut their hours and a number of other people were laid off. Ok, now I'm sure that some of you are thinking, "If the company claims to be having a problem collecting money, why aren't they firing Paige, if she's the one who collects the money?" And the answer my friends is simple; I am the Queen of COLLECTIONS! Not to toot my own horn, but I am EXTREMELY good at what I do and my employers know it; BUT, one person cannot be expected to collect money from 65,000 hotels worldwide, single handedly and that is exactly what they have been having me do. I should have a staff of at least 4 people; but instead it's just me and considering that it's just me; I've made them A LOT of money; just not ALL of their money.

The news of my new schedule immediately sent me into panic mode. My poor husband had already been working 2 jobs to try to earn some extra money, but between August and November our pay had decreased significantly and the money that he made at the pharmacy couldn't make up for all that was being lost. Much to his credit Luis remained positive and reassured me that we'd be OK; so I've been doing my best to refrain from acting like a nervous wreck.
My present deal with my company is that 3 days a week I work from home and 1 day a week I go into the office. I was in the office on December 17 and I was talking to my friend, (who for the sake of this blog I will refer to as DM;) and I told him that I got the distinct feeling that no matter how much money the company made they would never give my hours back nor restore my previous pay rate; and it saddens me to say that DM agreed. DM has been on my side for years. In fact he is probably the only person at my company who realizes how hard I work and what my contribution to the company has been. I shared my fear with him, he said "Well, I'll tell ya; after they cut your hours, I was thinking of going to the other guys and suggesting that we all take a little more of a pay cut so that you wouldn't have to lose a day. I realized that none of them were going to be willing to do it, so I thought that I would let them cut my pay enough to get your day back; but then I realized that if I let them do so, they'd never give my money back. So then I thought I would go to them and ask how much it cost to pay you for a day and offer to write them a check each pay period so that you could get your day back; and then after you, if I could, I would do this person and that person." And I don't think that I have to tell you that I almost cried. I think my jaw must have dropped to my desk because I couldn't believe how selfless DM was and what I was hearing. I thanked him profusely for even considering such an act, and assured him that I could never let him do so. We talked about how ridiculous it was that he recognized my value to the company while its owners did not and how his compassion surpassed theirs. And although his offer will never come to fruition, it is the fact that he even considered it that is extraordinary to me.

So often through the history of this blog, I have told you that I am all about the GREATER GOOD and THIS is a shining example of a man who in so many ways was exemplifying the greater good. He wanted the greater good for my family, and for our company and he was willing to try and contribute towards the greater good at his own expense. UNCOMMONLY KIND, is all that I can say.

We certainly don't all have the means to take on the financial burden of someone else, but we ALL can make a difference in someones life in one way or another. Whether it is to give a friend 5 extra minutes of your time when you really don't have it; or by volunteering, or extending a friendly greeting to a stranger ~ just because; we can all be facilitators of the greater good.
As we approach this new year, 2010; I hope that life continues to get better for all of you, in every way. May you all experience good health, both physically and emotionally, may you grow rich emotionally, spiritually, creatively and financially and may you put your dreams in motion and make them your reality.

As always I thank you for taking the time to take this journey with me. I thank you for your support and your encouragement, your laughter and your tears.
Till next time...


CherylBakos said...

Thank you for sharing this story Paige. You are lucky to have someone like this on your side and I am lucky to have someone I'll call PR for the sake of this comment, on my side. Many blessings in the New year to you and yours.

PC said...

Thank you for the inspirational blog Paige. At this time when nothing is going right, it is nice to know that there a people who care about others who want to do the right thing, even if they can't.

Rachel said...

Lovely story...I am inspired! Thanks for sharing this...

Rbarakat said...

Hang in there Paige! Praying that the situation gets bettre. Wonderful that there are still good people in the world!

Michelle said...

You have helped restore my faith in my fellow human with this story...people are beautiful, LIFE is beautiful! Thank you Paige....you and folks like this gentleman inspire me to be kinder.