1 – Most Important Lesson

During my
second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a
conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read
the last one: «What is the first name of the woman who cleans the
Surely, this
was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She
was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed
in my paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would
count toward our quiz grade. «Absolutely,» said the professor. «In your
careers, you will meet many people. All are
significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you
do is smile and say ‘hello’.»
never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2 – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain
night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing
on the
side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing
rainstorm. Her
car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet,
she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped
to help
her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man
took her
to safety, helped her get assistance, and put her into
a taxicab. She
seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and
Seven days
went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant
console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.
It read: «Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes,
but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s
bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.»

Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 – Third Important Lesson -Always remember those who serve
In the days
when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel
coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front
of him. «How much is an ice cream sundae?» he asked. «Fifty
cents,» replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of
his pocket and studied the coins in it. «Well, how much is a
plain dish of ice cream?» he inquired.
By now, more
people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
«Thirty-five cents,» she brusquely replied. The little boy again
counted his coins. «I’ll have the plain ice
cream,» he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the
bill on the table, and walked away.
The boy
finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came
back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside
the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies – You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he
had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 – Fourth Important Lesson – The Obstacle in Our Path
ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he
himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.
Some of
the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and
simply walked
around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads
but none did anything about getting the stone out of the
Then a
peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the
boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the
side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally
succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse
contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the
gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents
an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving when it counts
years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to
know a
little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious
Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from
her 5-year old brother, who had survived the same
disease and
had developed the antibodies needed to combat the
The doctor
explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if
he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate
for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, «Yes, I’ll
do it if it will save her.»
As the
transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we
all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor
and asked with
a trembling voice, «Will I start to die
right away?»
Being young,
the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to
have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her. You see, after
all, understanding and attitude are everything.