Pay it Forward

One of my good friends yesterday told me that in the 15 years he’d known me, he had never once seen me refuse a request for help from anyone, including offering it to some who never asked. I mentioned that to another friend who said that about covered it for him, too. I thought those comments incredibly generous and some of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. It’s true that we do a great deal of charitable work here at the Group, but today I thought I’d take a second and mention some of the huge number of people that have helped ME, perhaps by way of explanation about why I feel compelled to pay things forward.

Steve Stockdale, for instance, who once paid off a debt I owed back when my stock brokerage was fading into the sunset. Paid off a collection, in fact. I know he never told me about it; it’s possible that he doesn’t even know that I know. But I do, and I’m grateful.

Dr. David Harrison and his wife Stephanie, who have treated not only me but everyone in my immediate family to free dental care for the last 20 years. No kidding. Absolutely FREE, and without one single word about it to me. Just today I had my teeth drilled (the upper #1 was decaying under the filling), and he not only took another x-ray to make sure that he didn’t have to drill TWO teeth (he didn’t), he spent his 45 minutes – for the second time in two weeks – and made sure that the procedure was done absolutely correctly, with extra base over the nerve to keep me from having serious discomfort later. It worked. He never said a thing about it. He never does. He is an incredibly generous, kind, and gentle man, and I love him. You should call him if you need dental care, because the “care” part can’t possibly be done better anywhere else. He’s at 801-969-1802, and Stephanie might even answer the phone when you call.

Ellen Hadfield, who watches my children for nothing to let my wife do volunteer work at the local charter school. This is no small favor. I do not have quiet children, nor few of them.

Sean Snorgrass, who for Christmas bought my entire family dinner at Rib City, and last week went to the gun show in Salt Lake and bought me two boxes of .303 ammunition for my Enfield WWII rifle. And then refused to let me pay him.

Seth Hawkins, who once gave me an envelope filled with money – some three or four hundred dollars – when we were so broke we couldn’t turn the heat on. Seth and Michelle, themselves, have never been wealthy by the world’s definition, but they are the picture of class and compassion, not to mention determination. Seth once picked mangoes off a tree and sold them on the street corner in Puerto Rico to get food for his family. He tells the story that the mangoes weren’t ripe enough to eat, but some stranger stopped and bought them all. There are people like this all over the world.

Barry, Richard, and Bryce Gardner, who were out cruising the neighborhood one day and saw that I needed help. We had just moved into this house, had all our life’s possessions still in the garage, and Jeanette had just fallen into the crawl space onto the concrete and spend half a day in the hospital after being cut out of her clothes and rescued by the Lehi Paramedics. I was sick, most of the kids were dead tired, and I was sitting in the garage on the steps and just couldn’t move another step. Up the driveway come these three huge men with great smiles on their faces and start picking up boxes and carrying them in. Two, three boxes at a time. In fifteen minutes, they cleaned out the garage, and without saying a thing except “you’re welcome”, shook my hand, went back off down the driveway, got into their truck, and left. I still choke up thinking about it, how bad we needed that help and how cheerfully it was given.

My mother and my father, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. There is no possible way to match their generosity to me and my family. There are far, far too many instances to list. I have to get work done, after all.

My wife. Oh, Jeanette. What could I do without you?

There are more, and no doubt there are thousands of instances I can’t remember or never knew about, people all over who go about doing me service and taking care of me (I am really kind of like a little kid sometimes) that I never notice and couldn’t repay if I did. These people are out there in your life, too, you know. It might do us all good to make a list like this once in a while.

Thank you, all of you. May God bless you.

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