BY Jermaine Jackson

One day, while riding around in my car in the city they call Rochester, N.Y., I began to think about a good friend named Willie Jones, a person whom I had known for approximately 10 years and whose birthday was around the horizon. I was contemplating a way to help celebrate it with him.

It was nothing I had planned for a considerable amount of time. In fact, it was really a spur-of-the-moment type of thing, a surprise of sorts. Briefly questioning it in the beginning, thinking that he probably would have already eaten, I eventually decided to go through with it, thinking that it can only put a smile on his face and make his day that much brighter. Besides, who would be upset with someone buying them lunch as a way to celebrate their birthday?

In any event, I pulled up to his place of business, a barber shop named Be Blessed Barber Shop, located at 818 Merchants Road. It is a barber shop that he owns and that I frequent. As I walked through the door, I greeted everyone respectfully as I made my way toward him. We greeted and embraced each other in a brotherly fashion, and I asked him if his birthday was coming soon, just to break the ice. He said it was. I then proceeded to offer him lunch on me at his favorite place, Salvatore’s on East Main Street, as a way to celebrate. A look of blissful joy came across his face as he accepted my offer, and we then headed there to eat lunch. At Salvatore’s, we didn’t have to wait long to place our order. In fact, we didn’t have to wait at all. The cashier was friendly and courteous (something I greatly appreciate). We ordered two fish fries altogether (one apiece), and we sat and waited for our order. We originally were going to eat it there, but we decided to take it back to his shop instead. That way we could enjoy it and talk when we were done.

While waiting, we talked and caught up with the events of each other’s lives and talked about life in general. Since he and I attend the same church together (a place called Rochester Bible Baptist Church, in which he is one of the assistant pastors), we also talked about that as well. Before long, the food was ready, and we were out the door heading back to his place of business.

At the barbershop we proceeded to eat our fish fry. Neither one of us really finished ours although we were both hungry, the portions were very generous. But the overall look of appreciation permeated his face throughout our time together, and he certainly wasn’t shy about letting it be known. I received such a general feeling of great warmth, blissful calm and pleasant feeling from all this, and I graciously returned the same positive feelings. For me, it was a day well spent, and for my friend, it was a very welcome, uplifting surprise

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, as I would head back to my place to check my e-mail before resting. As for that surprise, our friendship was already firmly in place, and such an event was just icing on the cake. It just goes to prove that, with all the negativity and hostility in life that can make the average individual cynical and extremely watchful of others, there is always a glimmer of hope that keeps him or her striving to live and get along graciously with others.

With prayer, a belief in God and a desire to see self and humanity develop into a better society, one simple act of kindness can go a long way, to the giver, as well as the receiver. As Galatians 6:7 in the Holy Bible quotes, ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever one soweth, that shall he also reap. Do not be weary in well doing; for we will reap good things, if we faint not.” Lastly, in Greek mythology, when Pandora’s box was opened, all the evils were allowed into the world, leaving only hope. Hope has inspired mankind since the beginning of time and will continue to do so in the future.
Jackson is a UR employee.

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