You are ImportantI
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Another Jack story.



by Jack Alexander

You certainly are very important to someone, however you may never know the extent of your influence on that person. When someone donates a kidney to a patient who is clinging to life and a recovery occurs, a crucial difference has been made. Not all of us have an opportunity to do something that spectacular however our personal role in life often is very important. 

Some of us equate money, property, social level, or a title in the business world for the true meaning of the word importance. For others there are more subtle ways in which we can have a positive influence on others. I'd enjoy telling you about someone who showered me with kindness and generosity in 1937 when I was fifteen. Over sixty years has passed since that adventure an event that added excitement to my young life, and I remember it clearly.

When living in Philadelphia, my parents and a family down the street were close friends. Roger was the husband's name. Roger was a salesman; he covered all of the boroughs in New York City. Like the proverbial saying, he knew the area like the back of his hand. He maintained a hotel room which was his home during the week. On rare occasions he would come back to his real home during the week, such as a birthday party. One Saturday Roger talked with my parents explaining how he would enjoy showing me his adopted city the next day. I stood silently, hoping that they would agree and soon they did just that!

It was not the custom in the Thirties for a child to call an adult by their first name but he insisted. He was rather short and rather heavy. His silver air was combed straight back with just a semblance of a part. His soft, smooth, pinkish skin showed few wrinkles. His eyeglasses were always of the latest style and in one word his appearance could have been called, dapper! He had an easygoing disposition; his voice was low and soft with perhaps a melodic quality. I doubt he ever lost his temper. Perhaps he sounds like a saint however for that weekend, he was just that for me.

The next day I waved good bye to my parents. Sitting in the Cadillac, with the top safely tucked under the leather boot; we drove off on our venture. If nothing more than a ride in that beautiful car had been offered, I would have been thrilled! The day was picture-perfect and with the anticipated bustle of the city, I sat on the edge of my seat. My heart leaped as we drove over the Pulaski Skyway. In the distance a long line of tall buildings marched endlessly across the sky. I'm certain my excitement was contagious. I was helping Roger see this wonderland through my eyes, a scene that over the years had become all too common for him.

City traffic was light on the sunny summer afternoon. We slowed many times as different landmarks were explained to me and I surveyed everything in awe. My mind was much like a sponge, listening and looking, soaking up every detail. Later in the day we arrived at his hotel; an attendant took the car to an underground garage. Once in Roger's room, a call downstairs was made to reserve a dinner table. His room was large with two windows that looked down on the wide street below. A number of books and magazines were strewn about. The top of his dresser could barely contain one more picture of his wife and children. At his suggestion I washed the city grime from my face and hands before we rode downstairs in the hushed elevator. The dinning room was quiet and the luxuriousness made me more interested in gazing about than in eating. We finished with a sumptuous dessert. He knew the way to my heart!

Outside the hotel he hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to the Radio City Music Hall. Soon I was watching with wide-open eyes as the thirty-six dancers filled the huge stage. The spectacle of this performance made a lasting impression on me, a mere boy who had been whisked to the city of his dreams. At the close of the show I found myself in another taxi, only the second taxi ride of my life! We were off to Grand Central Station. A ticket was bought and I was seen safely on the train. As the heavy steel wheels whirled me toward home I leaned my head back and dreamed of the day, which was all too soon, coming to a close.

Roger probably had no idea of the impact of his kindness. The memory of the trip has returned often over my lifetime and it still thrills and excites me. Perhaps you have done something that has made you just as important in the eyes of another person. You may never know what a hero you were. The fact that you made a difference in someone's life makes you a very important person indeed!