Good

A man walked into the shoe store. The man was dressed in rags, he had a long beard. He smelled like a billy goat. His shoes were falling apart.

Birmingham, Alabama—A Friday. Chadley was in a good mood. He would be twenty-one in a few days. To celebrate, he would be leaving for Orange Beach with his friends after work.

His job was in a shoe store. It was the sort of place that sold everything. His daily tasks included: stocking, manning a register, and cramming shoes on the stinky feet of bratty kids.

He couldn’t wait to clock out.

Earlier that morning, his father had given him two hundred dollars as a birthday gift. It was going to be the weekend of a lifetime.

A man walked into the shoe store. The man was dressed in rags, he had a long beard. He smelled like a billy goat. His shoes were falling apart.

The fella had crumpled dollars his hand. “Some lady gave me this money,” the old timer said. “I’d like to buy me some shoes.”

It wasn’t enough to buy a pair of flip flops.

Young Chadley looked at the man’s feet. They were bloody.

He bought the man two pairs of shoes—expensive ones. Then, he bought the man’s lunch. Chadley spent nearly all his birthday money. Then, he tucked his remaining six dollars into the man’s hand.

Our hero never made it to the beach that year.

Panama City, Florida—a man saw a woman in a Home Depot parking lot.

The lady was silver-haired and frail, loading fifty-pound bags of fertilizer into her trunk.

He offered to help. He placed them into her car and nearly ruptured L4, L5, and S1. Then, he followed her home to unload them.

Hers was a rundown single-wide in a mobile home park. She had an overgrown lawn and moldy siding. Her porch was full of flowers that needed planting.

“Who’s gonna plant all those?” he asked.

She shrugged. “Me, I guess. My husband used to help me do yard work, but he’s dead now.”

He planted flowers until sundown. Then, he showed up the next day to mow her lawn, trim hedges, and pull weeds. You should’ve seen her little place when he finished. It was fit for the cover of Better Homes and Trailers.

Today, he mows her lawn once per week.

Atlanta, Georgia—Casey was fifteen. Wiry red hair. She was smart. Straight A’s.

Her mother got sick. Bad sick. Casey had been taking care of her for a year. Casey fed her, bathed her, and helped her use the bathroom.

Her grades started to slip. She was earning straight D’s. When the going got tough, she dropped out during her freshman year.

A teacher stopped by her house one afternoon with cookies, flowers, and a fresh-baked casserole.

And textbooks beneath her arms.

When Casey answered the door, her teacher said: “You’re not getting away that easy, sweetheart.”

For two years, that woman tutored Casey in her living room. Casey graduated with A’s. Her mother was fortunate enough to attend her graduation before she died.

Today, Casey is a professional photographer.

Look, I know you’re busy. I know you don’t have much time to read this, so I’ll make it quick.

I don’t know what you’re facing, or whether it’s beating you. But I do know that this life can be mean.

Sometimes, your lawn is overgrown, sometimes people get sick, sometimes you’re trying to lift fifty-pound bags of fertilizer on your own.

And sometimes you wonder if there’s anything left in this world that’s worth a cuss.

I want you to know something:

There is.

Happy forty-third birthday, Chadley.

21 comments

  1. Pamela McEachern - March 10, 2018 8:25 am

    I too believe good is all around us, and it comes in so many unique ways. I hope Chadley has a very happy birthday and I know he must be cherished by many. Thank you Sean for so many reminders of the good people that are just around the corner from us everyday.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  2. John - March 10, 2018 9:54 am

    Yep.
    We need to help when we can…And accept help when it’s offered.

    Reply
    • Dianne - March 10, 2018 12:24 pm

      AMEN!

      Reply
  3. Kathy - March 10, 2018 11:52 am

    Thank you, Sean. You start my days beautifully. ❤️

    Reply
  4. Dianne - March 10, 2018 12:23 pm

    Sean, you remind us every day that there are so many good and kindhearted people in this world. We just have to open our eyes and hearts and see them all around us, and yet, they never need their name in headlines telling of their goodness. Thank you again!

    Reply
    • Pat - March 10, 2018 11:17 pm

      So agree Dianne…I saw a quote once that said “It ain’t charity if you gotta brag about it”.

      Reply
      • Cynthia Hayes - May 17, 2018 12:21 pm

        Pat they were not bragging about what they were doing. Someone sitting along the sidelines saw and was making comments about them helping needy people out.

        Reply
  5. marsha weisel - March 10, 2018 1:17 pm

    Your writing lifts my spirits. Thank you for noticing good things and helping me see them too.

    Reply
  6. Diane - March 10, 2018 1:40 pm

    Another good one, Sean. Thanks for keeping me in touch with life and what we have to offer. Bless you, sir.

    Reply
  7. Nancy Hillyer - March 10, 2018 2:27 pm

    I love reading your column. It gets my day off to a good start. Thank you.

    Nancy Hillyer

    Reply
  8. Sherry - March 10, 2018 2:37 pm

    Their rewards will be so much more!

    Reply
  9. Nix LaVerdi - March 10, 2018 2:46 pm

    Beautiful, Sean. Your person, your perspectives, your storytelling, your words. The people who follow your writing, internalize your perspectives, open their hearts to your stories and absorb your words. I appreciate all of you. Thank you, Nix.

    Reply
  10. Jack Darnell - March 10, 2018 2:49 pm

    Many ‘ignorant people’ figure the folks you mention are just easy, I tend to think they are wonderful kind-hearted people. The kind you love to have as friends. (before and after they are considered angels)

    Reply
  11. Steve Welch - March 10, 2018 3:36 pm

    Damn Sean! Now you got tearing up on the weekend too. Great piece. Chadley (and the rest of us) is lucky to have crossed your path. Please keep writing. Some days your piece actually makes me look for a way to pass it on.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  12. muthahun - March 10, 2018 5:50 pm

    Some days, Sean, yours are the only hopeful words I read. Thanks for keeping things in perspective.

    Reply
  13. Pamela McEachern - March 11, 2018 12:11 am

    I have an exceptional tale to share today. I went to the service station to get gas and the man helping me ask how many miles I had on my car, I told him and he said see that car, which was just like mine, it only has 73,000 on it, mine has 131,600. I said I could not believe it and he must have bought it from the “old school teacher.” He laughed and said a lady had given it to him, and did not want anything for it, not even want recognition. He said he loved the car and was so happy and blessed to have it. I told him how I too have been blessed by angels at times when I had be at some of my lowest times. Before I left I told him he would really enjoy reading Sean of the South, he said he would get his oldest son to look it up. Great to have met you today Dusty, I will be back soon. You made my day.

    Reply
  14. Michael Hawke - March 11, 2018 3:05 am

    Amen

    Reply
  15. Ted - March 12, 2018 3:42 pm

    Blessings…each person in the story…and what each of us can also be. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  16. Brenda Horn - March 12, 2018 11:30 pm

    Are you stories available in book form. I am so inspired by them would love to share.

    Reply
    • Sandi in FL - March 31, 2018 9:24 am

      Brenda, check on Amazon, because Sean has at least seven delightful books for sale online.

      Reply
  17. Charlotte - May 17, 2018 2:02 pm

    Ahhhh, my dose of happy each morning! God knows & see’s your heart & of those you write about! Keep the good news flowing!!! Love u

    Reply

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