by Lesle Knop
Many years ago, I had a boss whose annual mandatory ethics program for his employees included watching a film called “Do Right” by the legendary Catholic football coach Lou Holtz.
Every year, we passed around a battered VHS tape that had spent lots of time in a video player. Remember those? Makes me feel old just thinking about it.
I was reminded of Lou Holtz last month when I found a note on my car’s windshield after visiting my daughter at the hospital after the birth of our newest grandchild.
“I apologize for accidentally hitting the backside of your car when pulling into a parking place. Please call me if you have any concerns,” the note read.
It was signed, dated and included a phone number. First thing I did was to look at my banged-up fender. The second thing I did was say a prayer for the person who left the note.
Many people are cynical about the kindness of strangers. Negativity abounds. We expect the worst instead of the best. Maybe that’s why I was surprised by the profound honesty on a torn scrap of white paper stuck in my windshield on that cold winter morning. Wouldn’t most people just drive away?
I think it is a remarkable testimony to the goodness of this woman that she listened to the still, small voice of her conscience and confessed that she had accidentally struck my car with hers. She did the right thing, which brings me back to our friend Lou Holtz and his plain and simple advice.
He said, “Just do the right thing.” If we just do the right thing, we experience a joyful freedom from anxiety from doing the wrong thing.
He said to always do everything to the best of your ability. Not everyone will be great, he said, but everyone can do their best. He also said to show people that you care about them.
Lou Holtz has a gift of saying things in ways that you never forget them: “There is never a right time to do the wrong thing and never a wrong time to do the right thing.”
Someone did the right thing!
I was moved by the spirit of stewardship and good will of the woman who struck my car that winter morning. We called the number she provided. She apologized again and said, “Send me the bill.” The end of the story is that my car is fixed. Good as new.
That’s not really the end, though. I am telling this story to you with the hope that this unexpected example of honesty and compassion will inspire you, also, to “do right.”
And the note-writer’s name? It’s Lisa.