I met Damian
A little thing happened today and it's kind of a cute story, so if you like cute stories, read this.
I was in my office boringly watching a keynote presentation from DreamForce. The streaming video feed was skipping badly reminding me how life will be nice once 5G takes over. During it, the doorbell rang and eager to do anything else, I shot up and answered the door.
I open the door and there's this kid. His name is Damian, 13, and he asked if he could shovel the snow from our driveway for five dollars. As if he needed to convince me, he went into a story about how he lost his wallet and he's saving up for something, etc, etc, etc.
I said sure and went to get five dollars and when I did, I noticed I had an American five-dollar bill in my drawer. Next to my wad of beautiful Canadian bills, it just looked like a dirty dishrag. Ugly American money. I don't want that and I'll never go to the currency exchange to switch it to Canadian, so I grabbed the American bill and folded it into the Canadian bill. A little bonus for the kid and a monkey off my back.
I gave him the money and he proceeded to start shoveling the driveway. I told my wife the kid's going to shovel the driveway for five bucks, but that I gave him ten.
"Really?" she said. You see, she was a bit surprised as we just had a big heavy dump of snow and it's a lot of work to move wet snow. Too much for that little guy I thought, but he wants to do it so good on him.
Then I thought I'll offer him an additional twenty dollars if he shovels the snow off the sidewalk too. So I asked if him and he said sure. Keep in mind, our sidewalks are extra wide And we’re on a corner lot. I noticed he had a tiny little shovel too.
I said, "Let me know when you are done and I'll pay you the extra twenty." After all, he may be savvy and decide to bug out with the money.
I went back inside and started laughing and my wife asked why. I said "He's got that teeny little shovel. It's going to take him forever to shovel the snow. He has no idea how big a job it is, and it's already starting to get dark." I watched him out the window and noticed he was not getting much accomplished. The wet snow was just too heavy.
I was concerned and even though the pay is fair, I felt like I'm taking advantage of the kid. I decided to help him." So I threw on my coat, boots, scarf, gloves, and grabbed the big shovel. I could have just pulled out the snowblower but felt the exercise and fresh air would not hurt.
So for the next little while, we shoveled the snow together and all the time, he talked, and talked, and talked. Lol.. a sweet kid actually. He told me about his dog that was sick and going to die, and his mom left his dad because he moved too much for his job, and now his uncle is his Dad. He likes his uncle. His Uncle likes the new landlord and he's white, which I thought was an unnecessary detail and raised questions in my mind about his upbringing. Well, I let that slide as it's not my place to educate someone else's child about my beliefs on right or wrong.
He unabashedly pointed out the peeling paint on our garage door and said everyone thinks it's the 'scary house'. I laughed aloud. Really? That's what the kids around here think? Very amusing. He's right though. The place is run down. I didn't explain that when a place looks run down it's usually because the people who live there have some troubles in their lives. Which we do, but that's a story I can't tell.
Anyway, about twenty minutes in we were about 1/3rd done, and I had done about 80% of the work, but still had the sidewalk to do. Now he said he thinks he has to go home. I smiled because he's just a kid and didn't plan his venture very well, and said: "Okay, let's buckle down for five minutes and work really hard and see how much we can get done." He said okay and we stopped talking. I threw my muscle and weight into it and completed the job, clearing off about 50 feet of the sidewalk in the time he did about five feet of it, with his teeny little shovel.
Afterward, he helped me move the bins from the alley to the driveway, and throw down salt on the slippery area. Then he stood there waiting for payment. I smiled and even though he did not hold up his end of the deal, I gave the extra twenty dollars as though he had. He had gumption and hustle, and I like that he was making an effort, and he made me smile.
If more kids got out and hustled like that, the world would be a better place. It's kids that get out and make their own opportunity, who will be more successful in life. At least, that's what I think. That behavior needs to be rewarded in my mind.