“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
— Ambrose Redmoon
Every so often you make a decision to do the right thing.
Even if it’s a bit odd looking. Just like a donut.
At 7:15 a.m., as I drove around the corner from our home this morning, three kids in tow, I passed a collection of town homes in our neighborhood. They have been under construction for the past few weeks.
Every morning, all the construction workers sit in their cars waiting until about 7:30. Then they all get out of their cars, yellow safety jackets and yellow helmets askew. Having driven by this scene for the past few weeks, it’s easy to ascertain that these are sleepy gentlemen, getting ready to do a lot of physical labor. Today, as I drove by, the workers were sitting in their cars as usual. I made a decision.
I drove the kids to school. As I exited the school, instead of turning right to go back home, I turned left. I drove to the best donut shop on the west side of the Portland metro area, Sesame Donuts. Two dozen donuts and a sugary joke later, I was driving back to the construction site.
When I pulled up to the town homes about 7:45, it was surprising to see a large gathering of those yellow helmets. There was a break in the long line of parked cars. I slowed, looked and pulled my car into the space. Grabbing the donuts, I got out and started up the sidewalk.
I asked the first worker I passed, “Whose in charge?” He swung his head toward the crowd, yellow hat askew.
I walked past a few more workers and asked again, “Whose in charge?” I got an odd look, then another look towards a closely knit group of yellow helmets.
As I approached, the yellow helmets separated to reveal a large man with a very sour expression, staring at me.
“If looks could kill … ” I thought later.
I approached the large man with the yellow helmet.
“I’ve seen you guys working out here in the rain the past few weeks. It’s Friday. I thought you might like some donuts.” I said more confidently than I had any right to be.
He looked at me. He looked at the donuts. He looked back at me. I held them out to him.
Then he surprised me. He chuckled and took the donuts. “What’s your name?” he asked as I looked him in the eye. I told him.
“Well Eric, on behalf of the guys I want to thank you.” Then he put out his hand and we shook.
“I hope the rain stays away today.” I said. He agreed.
Turning, I walked back through the throng of yellow helmets. A few workers started to applaud. A few more joined in. I didn’t hear any more, but I think they continued for awhile. As I made my way back through the throng, I looked at the last man in the line. It was the first gentleman I talked to earlier. We exchanged glances. His hands were going strongly. He was grinning.
I got back in the car.
I wasn’t thinking about whether bringing breakfast to a bunch of strangers was the right thing to do, or the wrong thing. I wasn’t thinking about whether it was odd or different. I wasn’t thinking about courage or cowardice.
All I could think about was whether or not I had bought enough donuts.
Today’s gift of time … Bought donuts for the construction workers in our neighborhood.