It's Often the Small Gestures That Mean the Most
We read with interest yesterday that former ABC White House Sam Donaldson was retiring. It's perhaps a sign of the times that we thought he had retired quite some time ago. But then, we don't watch much traditional network news anymore. But the most interesting thing of all about his retirement was this lovely story about his decency, recounted by The New Republic's John Judis. "One way to judge people’s character is how they treat those who are beneath them in status or authority. Take ABC television newsman Sam Donaldson, who retired today. I don't know Donaldson, and don’t watch Sunday news shows, but I had one experience with him many years ago when I was following former Rep. Dick Gephardt around for a story. Gephardt had a luncheon interview scheduled at ABC in Washington, and I accompanied him. The various bigshots, George Will, Cookie Roberts etc., were having lunch at their executive dining room. I was directed to a chair up against the wall and away from the table, where I could watch, but not participate in, the proceedings. I wasn’t introduced to anyone or offered lunch. Five minutes into the luncheon, as the interview was beginning, Donaldson disappeared into the dining room, and came back with a lunch on a tray for me. It was a minor, but a noble, gesture, and the kind of thing that I remember about people."
Meanwhile, we loved a similarly good-hearted idea our friend Dennis Coughlin floated recently on his blog. "Do you know someone who is out of work? Take them out for some coffee and conversation. Introduce them to someone new. Let them know that you are there for support if needed. They do need to get off the computer occasionally, get out of their houses, and talk to people who are not in the world of job searching, desperation, and depression, but rather are caring and listening."
Here then, is a tip of the cap to a couple of mensches, Sam & Dennis.