February 4, 2021 –
Jerry is the guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the situation’s positive side.
Seeing this style made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all the time. How do you do it?”
Jerry replied, “Each morning, I wake up and say to myself, “Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood.” I choose to be in a good mood.”
“Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim, or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining, or I can point out the positive side of life.” ‘
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.
“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
I reﬂected on what Jerry said. Soon after that, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, they released Jerry from the hospital with the bullets’ fragments still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds but asked him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.
“The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
Jerry continued, “….the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be ﬁne. But when they wheeled me into the ER, and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got terrified. In their eyes, I read, ‘he’s a dead man. ‘I knew I had to take action.” What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was this big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything.” “Yes,” I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, bullets!” Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything. — author unknown