Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July's theme: justice, equity, compassion

The theme for July, 2014 on UU A Way Of Life is the second principle of Unitarian Universalism: justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

I was in a pizza shop in Brockport Monday evening, June 30, 2014, and an old fat guy came in and ordered a slice of pizza with pepperoni, sausage, onions, and green pepper on it. He also bought a bag of potato chips and a 20 oz. diet pepsi. I thought to myself uncharitably, "Oh that diet Pepsi should assuage your guilt over that pizza and potato chips alright. What about you daily servings of veggies and fruit?"

The young woman, a college student, swiped his credit card and asked him to sign it. He said something about the line for the tip and asked her, "How much of tip do you want?"

She laughed and said, "$100.00 bucks."

He said "Okay" and signed the credit card slip with the tip at $100.00"

"I can't take that she shrieked. I was only kidding."

"That's what you asked for, right?" the guy said evenly.

"Yes, but I was only kidding. I didn't really mean it."

"What do you make in here," he said, "minimum wage?"

"I get a little more than that," she said.

"What do you do when you aren't working here," he asked.

"I go to college," she said, "I'm going to be a senior next year in Health Science."

"Put it toward you college fund," he said.

"Bob!" she called to her boss back in the kitchen. "This guy wants to give me $100.00 bucks. What should I do?"

All I could hear was some muffled reply which sounded like, "Shut up and take it."

I know who this guy is even though he doesn't know me. I think he is a Unitarian Universalist, and he goes to church in Rochester, NY while we were in Brockport, NY. I wondered what his motivation was in making this serendipity gift? Could it be a sense of justice, equity, and compassion for this hard working young woman, trying to get through college?

Who knows. I don't. Some might say he was nuts, had ulterior motives, must be rich and just throwing money around, or maybe he had deeper motives coming from values that include generosity, charity, equity, and a simple desire to make someone's life a little better.


  1. Isn't his gift an example of compassion, trying to make the life of a hard working college student a little easier. I've been there, waitressing to put myself through college. I wish some customer had given me a $100.00 tip.

  2. The gentleman's motivation might also have been equity. Mother Teresa said one time, "Don't wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person."

    While Congress dithers about minimum wage sounds like this guy stepped up all by himself. He asked her, so the story goes, "What do you get minimum wage?"

    This man is stepping out and doing what he can in his little corner of the universe. Good for him. Were that there were more like him. I am inspired to help someone who needs a hand today too. Lots of ways to do it. Equity is something we are all responsible for I think not just something that's done with social policy and legislation. Start where you are and you can start right now or anytime.