Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Mel's Going Away Gift

--by brighteyes, posted Sep 10, 2008

Several years ago, I was promoted to supervisor.  I was so excited  about being promoted, but little did I know, more importantly, how many valuable life lessons I would learn while in this position. 

Early on, I was short-handed and needed another staff member.  Management  and my senior staff joined me in interviewing the candidates and after much deliberation and voting, we hired a guy called Melvin -- or Mel as he liked to be called.  He was a character of sorts -- a retired cop, thick skinned, street smart, tough and rough around the edges.  Mel had much experience in the real world, but I wasn't sure he would be a good fit for the group or the company. 

When Mel first joined our team, he teased us relentlessly, cussed up a storm and was loud and aggressive, but after some time we all got used to him and realized that he actually added some life to our group.  Underneath that gruff exterior, Mel was ultra reliable, honest, hard-working, resourceful and possessed a heart of gold.  From the start, he was always looking out for others by loaning money to one worker, changing a flat tire for another, mentoring a third  and sharing his life lessons.

Eventually, our company was bought out  and we were forced to cut our staff in half.  A week before the layoff announcement, I was surprised when Mel requested a lunch meeting, as he was not on the layoff "riff" list, and I was sure he knew this.  When we got to the restaurant, Mel being Mel, he got straight to business and said:  "Layoffs are coming and I'd like to volunteer to be on the list."  But, Mel had a really unique set of conditions.

His first condition was that he wanted to offer his slot to someone he guessed was on the layoff list, a young male male worker whom he had taken under his wing and was mentoring.  Mel explained to me that this co-worker was going through a nasty divorce that took up all his time and energy, and he could really use the stability of a job right now.

Mel's second condition was that his retirement package should be paid to an elderly widow.  "I've got a little nest egg, so I'll be fine," he casually remarked.  Mel told me that he knew this woman hadn't worked long enough to get a package, but she sure could use that security because she didn't have any other source's of support in her old age.

I was blown away by listening to the ease with which Mel offered to give away his job and entire retirement package.  To top it off, he insisted that our conversation stay private and that those two colleagues NEVER find out about his involvement in this.  Completely anonymous.  Surprisingly, the management agreed to Mel's conditions and to this day, that young co-worker and the elderly widow don't know what Mel did for them.

I will never forget Mel!  I salute all unsung kindness heroes like Mel that will never get covered on CNN but whose spirit will uplift humanity for a long time to come.

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Readers Comments

ben wrote: Wow! What a superb man melvis is. May god of all creation bless him and his future generation.
Caratyzna wrote: That's amazing. If only we all looked out for each other so well.
Swift wrote: Mel is an example of someone who truly "gets it". It's humbling to hear of the folks on earth who live compassion. Thank you for your beautiful story. I'm glad i got to experience it!
Sita Ram Goyal wrote: Mels are rare in this materialistic and publicity hungry world. Let us honestly try to imbibe his spirit to the extent we can.
hotcocoa wrote: A true person is all i got to say.
susana wrote: I felt so touched by such kindness in such a cruel and selfish world. May god teach us all to be kind to one another, to put others and their needs above self.
SheliaAllen wrote: We need an unsung in jackson, mississippi
MakeSomeoneSmile wrote: What an absolutely wonderful story, thanks for sharing! Such a blessing that Mel came into your life. That is true and unselfish kindness at its best. The anonymity is awesome and may Mel be blessed for the rest of his earthly journey. I am sure there are many more lives that were changed because of these acts. Yours, those involved, and any who are inspired from this story. I know I am! Thanks for sharing brighteyes! :)
wayfarer wrote: Hey, Brighteyes! We were both writing about former colleagues at the same time! I love your story about Melvin. What a man! I want to be him when I grow up!
lmil1954 wrote: Kudos to Mel!! Thanks brighteyes for sharing another wonderful story and a great tribute to Mel- Linda:)

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