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Story ID:10425
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Clifton Park or Latham New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

So many times someone you know, or someone you know about does things all the time which leave you shaking your head, wondering how anybody could be so mean, so uncaring or even ruthless. We all know people like that, or at least know of someone like that. The world seemingly is full of people like that.

You donít very often hear about people who go through their daily lives caring about people and helping people. I know one like that and I want to tell you about him. I write so much about the bad things going on in the world today and the bad people we have in the media and in public office, that I wanted to take this opportunity to write about somebody good for a change.

I met this man in the early 1980ís. I was the President of the county Family Care Providers Association. In New York State Family Care Provider is the title given to people who take care of adult developmentally disabled persons in their home like a member of the family for the state. My late wife Tae and I did this for 28 years.

At the time we were angry because the State was not very decent in the way they treated us. As a provider association we were trying to get the State to do something to recognize long term service, and to at least allow us to get into the State retirement system or reward us in some way.

The State would do nothing. They refused to even consider it. At the headquarters of the Developmental Disabilities Office that we were under the jurisdiction of, one of the deputy directors wrote a letter to an insurance office and asked them if they could perhaps offer us some help.

As the President of the County association the insurance office gave my name as the contact person and spokes person for the Providers. I received a letter from them. I replied with a rather nasty letter telling them it was between us and the state and not something for them to try to make money on. I pretty much told them to buzz off.

I received a phone call from a gentleman from the Life Insurance office. The man asked if he and his associate might come to see me and talk about it. He did not quite understand what was going on and wanted to know just what the problem was. I replied that he could come and talk if he wanted to but I thought he was wasting his time. It was quite a drive from where his office was and it was going to cost them an entire afternoon.

They arrived and introduced themselves. They mentioned my letter and said it sounded like we Providers were pretty upset. They wanted to understand what it was all about and to see if they could be of some help. I explained the situation to them. After hearing me out the man said he understood the problem and sympathized with our plight. He assured me there was nothing he could do about the state.

Then he explained there were some life insurance plans that we may like to look at because they will provide us with a little something inexpensively, for when we got out of the Provider business. I agreed to allow him to show me. I said if they were anything we might be interested in I was willing to pass the information along to the membership and they could do what they wanted with it.

I liked it so well that I bought a couple of plans myself. It is well that I did because when my wife suffered her stroke and then passed away it was a life saver. I told the membership and let them make their own contacts if interested. I donít know how many did, but some did.

A few years later I went to see one of our members. A problem of some kind had come up they needed to see me about. These were a couple who had some Clients as we called them. The husband was sick. I went to see them and when I arrived, the insurance man was there.

The husband was a Corrections Officer. He had gotten cancer and was out from work on disability. At the time he went out on disability the union was in the process of changing health insurance companies. Some how he had fallen through the cracks. The new company refused to honor his membership and refused to pay his medical bills while he was being treated for cancer. He was supposed to be carried over and all the premiums had been paid but they were claiming the union missed him somehow and the insurance company refused to cover him.

It had absolutely nothing to do with his life insurance. It did not matter to the life insurance agent, who I will call John from now on. When John learned of it, he offered to help. He used his expertise to try to do some good for these people. He worked for weeks at trying to get that manís health insurance restored. He spent countless hours on the phone and writing letters and obtaining documents and getting some of the documents notarized.

He did it all out of the kindness of his heart! It cost him before it was over with, a considerable amount of time, money and resources. He stood to gain nothing from it at all. I was amazed at the goodness of this man. The entire problem had nothing at all to do with him or his company, and yet he worked so hard at his own expense to help these people.

John and I and his wife and my wife became good friends. We have been friends for over 30 years now. I know that the story did not end there. That corrections officer did not survive his cancer. After he passed away John attended the funeral, and he delivered the life insurance check. He told the widow to call him if he could help her with anything. She did. There were some things that came up that he helped her with.

The widow sold her house to her daughter and moved to Florida. Johnís business took him to Florida every two or three months. When he finished with his business he went to her city and looked in on her to see how she was doing. Then he told me when he got back that she was okay. It has been many years and as far as I know he still looks in on her.

Johnís insurance business expanded and he became a financial adviser. He turned over the life insurance part of the business to his partner and took care of the financial part of the business himself. However, those he had sold life insurance policies to, he felt obligated to continue with. He refused to turn them over to his partner or employees.

Over the years my wife and I have had some problems and we called him. He made arrangements to come see us as soon as possible, and gave as much help as he was able once he got there, even though it had nothing to do with his business. He just did it for friendship. He does it for others too.

He has a couple of daughters. One of them married a man who was here from Brazil. John helped him get a job. Soon he was laid off and John helped him get another job. Several times he borrowed money from John. He never repaid it. Finally his daughter divorced the guy. John felt sorry for him. He helped him get another job and bought him a used car. He had the car only a few days and wrecked it. John bought him another car. John ended up supporting him for several months because he couldnít keep a job. Finally the guy was homesick for Brazil and his family, so John bought him a plane ticket back to Brazil.

John has helped a lot of [people over the years. I sometimes ask him, ďJohn, how can you keep on helping people all the time the way you do? How can you afford it?Ē Johns reply, ďFred, I am greatly blessed. I feel that I should share that blessing with my fellow man. Besides, I feel that every time I help someone, I am repaid several times over.Ē

It is an honor, a pleasure and a blessing to me to have such a man as my friend. It is a rare privilege to know him. I love him like a brother. I would trust him with anything I have including my life. With all the miserable evil people I see in the world today, it restores my faith in mankind to see him and know him. As long as there are people like him in this world, there is still hope. I am sure it will come as no surprise, but he is also a Christian who loves Jesus Christ. In the more than the thirty years I have known him, I have never once heard him speak ill of anyone. If he canít say something good, he just doesnít say it. He is a practicing Christian all the way.

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