story that has gone viral on the Internet has to do with a 19-year-old employee
of Dairy Queen. The term, “going viral” can mean a number of things. In
searching for some basic definition for this term I came away with this
assessment: Going viral means your video, article, or picture became fabulously
popular virtually overnight.
this young man, Joey Prusak, working for Dairy Queen in Hopkins, Minnesota has
now been crowned “King of Kindness.” Just exactly what did he do to receive
such an honor? Well, as the story is told in the newspaper, Joey was working
the counter at the ice cream shop when a young customer who was blind
unknowingly dropped a twenty dollar bill. Before Joey could say anything an
older lady (50-60ish) standing behind the blind customer reached down and
pocketed the cash. What happens next should cause each of us to take pride in
this young man and his willingness to do what is right. That’s a true sign of
the woman approached the counter, Joey told her that she needed to return the
money to the blind man or leave the store, because he was "not going to serve someone as disrespectful as [her]." "She made a big scene, started
swearing," he recalls. (That would be a sure sign of a lack of
character on her part.) She even claimed that she had dropped the money.
Eventually, she chose to leave. A customer standing behind the older woman
witnessed this all, as well as what happened next, and was inspired to write to
Dairy Queen's headquarters. In the letter, she writes: "What happened next
I would have never expected. Your employee (Joey Prusak) approached the young (blind)
man and took out his wallet, and said 'Sir, on behalf of Dairy Queen I would
like to give you the $20 bill that you happened to drop on the ground as you
walked away from the counter. I realize that this is not the $20 bill you
dropped, because the older woman stole it but it does still have the same face
employer wouldn’t give his eye teeth for such an employee! Because this story
has gone viral, countless numbers of people have mailed twenty dollar bills to
Joey. I’m betting Joey does something very sacrificial with the money.
Bible says a number of very interesting things when it comes to your character
and the importance of keeping your integrity. In Psalm 15 we are offered a look
at the person who would desire to live with the Lord God forever. I like the
way “The Message” translation puts it: 1
God, who gets invited to dinner
at your place? How do we get on your guest list? 2 “Walk
straight, act right, tell the truth. 3-4 “Don’t hurt your
friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. 5 “Keep
your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll
never get blacklisted if you live like this.”
response from the big-wigs at Dairy Queen is most interesting. International Dairy Queen has called Joey to
thank him for being such an inspiration and told him they will be mailing
"something" his way. According to his Twitter, he also received a
call from Warren Buffett. "I felt like the right thing to do was to
give him the money," Joey said. I can only guess as to what that
“something” is, but I would like to suggest that Dairy Queen provide Joey with
a full-ride scholarship to the four-year college of his choice with the
ultimate goal of having him join their management team.
don’t know this young man, nor can I be certain what was going through his mind
during this incident in his store. But his last comment, “I felt like the right thing to do was to give him the money,”
tells me all I need to know about this man’s character.
applaud Joey for his doing the right thing. Yet isn’t it interesting that a
story about someone doing the right thing goes viral on the Internet? We cheer
for the person who acts the way they should anyway. It seems we have become accustomed
to people’s poor behavior to the point that we’re literally surprised, even
shocked, when someone of any age, but especially a younger person, shows such
strength of personal character.
story may never have been made known had that other customer not taken the time
to write to Dairy Queen. Because she did, a fine young man has been duly
recognized for character traits that strengthen any community or organization.
God grant our nation more Joey Prusak’s who do the right thing because it’s the
right thing to do!
Recently my oldest daughter, Laura, has
been asking me to write down the stories I used to make up for her and her
sister, Jenny. Included in this recalling of stories are also the various
things we did during their early years. To be honest, I can’t remember a whole
lot of those stories because I made them up on the fly. In hind sight, I
suppose I should have written them down. I’m better at remembering actual
events that took place in the lives of my girls.
Laura must have been about two or
two-and-a-half years old. We were living in San Jose where I was serving as
youth pastor. One of the families from church invited us to dinner. As we were
leaving their home that evening, Laura was running around the front yard while
we were making our way to the car. Next thing I know Laura is walking toward us
crying. She had been walking on the railroad ties which bordered the flower
garden in front. She had stumbled, catching her fall with her hands. She was
fine except that she had acquired what looked like a hundred wooden splinters
in her hands and wrists. What made it worse is the wood from the railroads ties
was rotten, so the wood was fairly soft. I knew it was going to be some job
digging those pieces out.
When we got home I had her get in the
bathtub where she could soak her hands until they looked like prunes. She knew
what was coming next, so she was none too happy when I showed up with a
straight needle and rubbing alcohol. It took about two hours of poking and
digging to get all the pieces of splinters out. Laura was a tough kid. She shed
some tears but she sucked it up and there were no problems as a result. But I
never want to do that again!
A few years later I was at my first
duty station as a Navy chaplain. Laura was now five and very much the active
hard-charger. I cannot remember her ever being sick in those first years of
life. I came home one evening from the squadron only to have my wife inform me
that Laura was not feeling well. I went into her room to check on her. Sure
enough, she complained of a tummy ache. I’ve seen Laura fall and bounce her
head off the concrete floor of our garage and hardly make a sound. She simply
got back up and went back to playing. So, for her to complain was my key to try
and find out what was actually taking place. Ever since she began to talk she
was always very articulate so she could explain things at a level beyond her
years. I asked her to tell me what sort of pain she had in her tummy. Was it a
dull ache, or a sharp pain? She said it was more like a sharp pain. I
experienced a similar illness when I was 18 which resulted in an emergency appendectomy.
I wondered if Laura might be having trouble with her appendix. Naw! After all, she’d
only just turned five. Her tummy wasn’t bothering her at that moment, so I told
her that if she felt anymore discomfort during the night to call for me and I’d
come right in.
Sure enough, about 2:30 AM I heard her calling,
“Daddy.” I went into her room and could see she was in considerable pain. I
bundled her up and took her to the car for the drive to the Naval Hospital at Marine
Corps Base Camp Pendleton, while Isaura called the hospital to alert them that
we were coming in. Once at the hospital the corpsmen and the doctors could not
have been better. They were very understanding and compassionate. Dr. Rodriguez
checked her over, all the while listening to my concern about the possibilities
of appendicitis. The white blood cell count was normal, so that seemed to rule
out the appendix. The doctor said he was going to open her up and see what he
could find. He said he would remove the appendix in the process, even though he
did not believe that was the culprit.
Isaura and I sat and waited until Dr.
Rodriguez came from surgery. He smiled and said everything was fine. I asked
what had caused the problem. He said it was indeed the appendix. I expressed
surprise that someone so young would have a “rotten” appendix. He informed me
that sometimes they have to perform emergency appendectomies on babies right
out of the womb because the appendix is bad at birth. I was glad I had listened
carefully to Laura’s descriptions of her pain! She spent the next several days
recovering in the hospital. Each evening I would grab a blanket and sleep in a
recliner in her room until we were able to take her home.
One last story involving both Laura and
Jenny. My second duty assignment was as command chaplain on board the USS White
Plains AFS 4, home ported in Guam. Being a tropical island, Guam had no end of
creepy-crawly critters. Laura and Jenny thoroughly enjoyed collecting frogs,
geckos, lizards, and hermit crabs. I was often the instigator in terrorizing my
wife which the girls thought was great fun. One time we found a hapless baby
gecko that had crawled into our freezer meeting a certain untimely end. The
girls and I took the little guy and placed him in a spot in the freezer where their
mother would be sure to see him. Then we waited. Sure enough, there came the startled
shriek, followed by the stern-voiced, “Charles!” The girls and I loved it!
Another time we snagged a frog from outside (there are tons of them on Guam)
and placed the amphibian in the bathwater for my wife’s nightly ritual. Low and
behold, as she steps into the bath water the frog decides to leap out. Priceless!
It was wonderful! You had to have been there to fully appreciate it.
The girls and I are convinced that the
Lord placed us on earth to not only be a blessing to their mom, but to bring
some levity into her life! I’m not sure she sees it in quite the same way. We managed to keep things lively during their growing up
years. Those were great days!
I now have two five-year-old granddaughters.
Hmmmm. Let me think on that for a bit . . . Yeah! What goes around, comes
around, girls! I can’t wait!
Today I’m writing about some of the
interesting and funny experiences I’ve had during my 65 years. Reflecting on my
birthday that officially places me in the “Senior Citizen” category, I found
myself looking back on some of life’s experiences.
Case in point: Sledding with my
brother, John. Now, here’s the situation. I’m the little brother by five years.
We lived on Underhill Road in Milford, Connecticut. Our house was situated on a
fairly steep slope about a block from the Long Island Sound. A sidewalk ran in
front of our house, which, on the upper end, connected with the street. The
lower end ran down to another road which was the main drag into town. In the
winter this sidewalk would become slippery from ice and snow. Because it was
angled downward rather severely, we used to grab our sleds and zip down the
walk. One problem - the sidewalk ended partway down and became a long series of
elongated stairs descending to the street below. So what we would do is have
two guys placed on either side of the walk where the stairs began. Linking
arms, they would catch the speeding sledder, operating much as the arresting
gear on an aircraft carrier stops a jet. Since I was the youngest, I went last.
My brother and his buddy were positioned to “arrest” me in my slide. All was
well as I ran with my sled, diving onto the wooden boards supported by metal
rails, thundering down the sidewalk. What a thrill! However, when I arrived at
the arresting place, John and his friend quickly pulled their arms away as I sailed
passed, a horrified and stunned look on my face. With that much forward
momentum you became slightly airborne until your sled hit the first step at
which point you became airborne again, sans
your sled, bouncing on your chest in a most undignified manner down the stairs.
I can still hear my brother and his friend howling in laughter at my comical
Another story had to do with our sister,
Joy’s 10th birthday. Our folks took the family into New York City
for dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel. Located on the corner of Madison Avenue and
45th Street in midtown Manhattan, it was built in 1924 in honor of
President Teddy Roosevelt. The Roosevelt housed the first guest “pet facility” and
child care service in The Teddy Bear Room
and had the first in-house doctor. In 1947, the Roosevelt became the first
hotel to have a television set in every room. But the primary reason for our
going there for this birthday celebration was due to the fact that the famed
band leader, Guy Lombardo, and his band performed there in the evenings. Another
famous band leader also began his career at the Roosevelt – Lawrence Welk. Our
table was maybe thirty feet from this famous band. During our dinner, Guy
Lombardo came over to our table and wished Joy a happy birthday. Only a couple
of years before I had begun to play trumpet at school, so to meet a musician of
Mr. Lombardo’s stature left me practically speechless. I remember him patting
me on the head and encouraging me to keep practicing my horn. I did and
received a scholarship to college on my horn. Later in my early 20’s during
Marine Corps Infantry Training I was selected to be the bugler which primarily
consisted of blowing reveille every morning at 4:30, and playing taps every
night at 10:00.
This last story has to do with
Thanksgiving. It was the summer of 1962. We had been in Europe since 1960, so
we decided to come back to the States for a visit. While in the New York area
with friends and family, my mother’s dad, Granddaddy Lake to me, passed away in
Dallas, Texas. Mom and I took the train from New York’s Grand Central Station
to Dallas. We stayed to help her mom make the necessary adjustments, which
meant I was starting school at Highland Park Junior High. I was beginning my freshman
year (Texas had Junior High from 7th – 9th grades).We had
a small apartment next to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where John was
beginning his freshman year. Through a complicated series of events which are much
too convoluted to explain, I was in the apartment by myself for a number of
weeks before rejoining mom and pop at our home in Norway. John spent lots of
time with me, particularly in the evenings, and my aunt and uncle also lived
nearby. At Thanksgiving Aunt Edith called to tell me that I was to fly out of
Love Field for Norway in a few days. The day of my departure they picked me up
to have Thanksgiving dinner with them before I boarded the plane. On the plane
we were served a Thanksgiving dinner as well. We landed at Idyllwild Airport
(now JFK international airport) in New York. With a five-hour layover, long-time
friends from New Jersey picked me up. We went back to their home where I ate
yet another Thanksgiving dinner. Back to Idyllwild, I boarded the flight from
New York to Copenhagen, Denmark, then to Goteborg, Sweden, and finally arriving
in Oslo, Norway. You guessed it! On the plane crossing the Atlantic we were
served another Thanksgiving dinner. My folks met me at the airport in Oslo.
What a welcomed sight! When we arrived home mom served up my fifth and final
Thanksgiving dinner! It’s a wonder that I still love to eat turkey, stuffing
and all the fixings, but I surely do. And it makes me look forward to Jesus’s
Marriage Supper of the Lamb which awaits believers in heaven. Now that will
truly be glorious!
Thanks for letting me share some
remembrances with you this week. Be blessed!
really have been reticent to address this topic, but for the life of me I can
see absolutely no good reason for the United States to get involved in the
trouble that Syria is experiencing. We have war ships positioned to launch
missiles into neighborhoods in an attempt to kill who exactly? And what is the
end game? In other words, what is to be gained by taking military action?
I’m just getting old. I turn 65 this week, so perhaps I’m tired of war. In my
34 years of military service I served in two wars: Vietnam and Iraq. Make no
mistake – war is an ugly business. Despite the efforts of Hollywood to glorify
war, and apart from fighting for a worthy cause, or the defense of your homeland, very little else can justify bringing people to
the point of war.
has been said that war should be the last resort. I whole-heartedly agree. It’s
no secret that Syria has been using chemical warfare against its own people.
We’ve been receiving reports on this for quite some time. This is why it was
most unsettling when our President made the challenge to President Assad that
if the United States finds out Syria is using chemical weapons against his own
people then we would be forced to take action. The President made a bold
statement about a red line being crossed should Assad and his regime fail to
comply with the U.S. wishes. Well, Assad ignored us, which is typical for
dictators, and since 2011 he is reportedly responsible for the deaths of over
100,000 of his own people through the use of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction).
wish the President had not made such a boast about taking military action
against Syria. If he had kept quiet, he could then have taken action when he
felt the time was right, and not on some predetermined time-line.
factor in this has to do with those nations who are supportive of Syria and the
Assad regime. Russia has made it quite clear that it does not want us messing
around in that region. The threat was real. Then there’s Iran. They have been
supplying weapons and men to the Syrians for some time. We’re still in Iraq and
Afghanistan, so does it make sense to “beard the lion” by provoking Russia and
has enough trouble keeping at bay the enemies it has on all its borders. They
are the sole democracy in the part of the world. Should the U.S. come into
their region and stir the pot without their tacit approval? I think not. We
could be unleashing a war-storm that could be a precursor to Armageddon.
me explain why I think we could be creating a mess. The Arab countries fight
amongst each other continually. It has been going on for centuries. What is
happening in Syria is nothing new. Only the modern weapons make this different.
However, because the Arab peoples are related, it’s like families that fight
amongst each other. They may scratch and claw, but the moment an outsider gets
involved they unite against the common enemy. That’s what I see happening
should the U.S. make a move against Syria. Even as I write this article on
Sunday evening, the news is reporting that the Obama administration is strongly
pressuring Congress to vote in favor of military action against Syria.
still another concern I have, and that is our military. Make no mistake about
it – should the President issue the order to take action against Syria, our
military forces will answer that call. The problem is that we have been at war
in two countries for twelve years and there is an exhaustion level that can be
reached by those who carry the burden of defending our nation. Add to that the
downsizing of our military; the cuts in defense; sequestration, etc… well, you
get the picture.
final thought on this possible military action in Syria is the same old problem
the United States has dealt with since we were formed as a nation in 1776. Somehow
we keep believing we are the world’s police force and that we can come in and
make everything better.
should we take action as a nation? Which hot spots around the globe deserve our
attention? We routinely ignore for instance, the many uprisings, wars, and
tribal conflicts which have left millions of people dead, homeless, and
ravaged. Why did we not take action in those equally far off places? Who
decides where we go?
prayer is that cooler heads will prevail in our government, and that we will
learn to step into situations only when our national defense is required.