September 2

So Long John. Until We Meet Again.


Big cities are full of activity, action, and progress. Most people are busy running from one place to the next that they will often miss beautiful opportunities to connect with their fellow man on a real and meaningful level.

I just found out that my friend John passed away the other day.

John was a simple man who would stand on the corner a few blocks down the street from my office and clean the windshields of cars. Most people paid him no notice, but those of us who did not only had the cleanest windshields in town, but we all became better people because of our relationship with John.

How did John make us all better people? Mostly from his attitude and example.

Even though John didn’t have much, his cheerful optimism would always leave me ready to take on the world. Even on my darkest of days, if I had a chance encounter with John, life just seemed a little brighter and the burden I was carrying felt a little lighter.

His attention to detail always reminded me that I need to be my best for people, even if an inferior effort was good enough for them. His goal was always to make your windshield the cleanest window in town and he invested the time to make sure it was. At first, I was in a hurry and would tell him it was good enough and not to worry about getting it all the way clean. But then I realized that his quality of work was even more important to him than it was to me. John’s example reminds me that I owe my sellers and my students nothing but my very best.

What made John’s cheerfulness, optimism, and work ethic even more impressive is the fact that he only had one arm. But he never let that dampen his spirits, determination, or quality of work. Most people would use a disability like this as an excuse. Not John.

Over the years I would stop to chat with John. And it wasn’t just to give him a generous tip or to buy him lunch. I wanted to learn to be more like John. He shared with me how he spent most of his free time caring for his elderly mother. Family was important to John and he wasn’t about to let her down. He provided for all of her daily needs.

Somebody was apparently touched by John much as I was because they placed a sign on the fence in his honor with some beautiful flowers.

There are so many people who complain about how bad things are or about everything that’s preventing them from living their best life. I never heard John complain once. John was a success because he made the best of his circumstances and made the choice to live life to its fullest. There’s always a bright side if we choose to see that bright side.

Sure, we’re all gonna have ups and downs. One day you’ll feast and the next day is famine. But tomorrow will present a new set of challenges and, more importantly, opportunities.

I’m going to miss my clean windshield. But what I’m going to miss more about my friend John is his simple smile and glowing optimism. A cheerful heart isn’t an anomaly or accident. It is something that needs to be nurtured and developed. It is a choice. It’s something people will naturally gravitate to and connect with. And it can’t be faked.

I guess the probate lesson for today is to serve others with a joyful heart. You will be rewarded.

To your success,
Ernie “Missing My Friend John” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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