Credit Where It’s Due

This is the same bait and switch that’s marred this country since snake oil salesman came through and started marketing things that really could not be. The excuse back then was our uneducated ignorance and innocence.

But there is no such excuse now. Fact is, people shouldn’t have to dodge and parry just to get the better value of a simple purchase.

No. It’s a darn shame how we treat each other, but a new day is dawning, folks, and it is all about gaining for yourself. If your gains can come without others’ losses, well bully for you, but if it does cost the brethren, the thinking is “better him than me.”

So sad, this.

I was at a benefit spaghetti dinner one night to work up funds for a family who had a 10-year-old boy dying of cancer. When the event had originally been arranged, the family was in need of donations to pay the incidental expenses the parents were encountering, such as gasoline, hotel stays and related costs for the boy’s treatment.

Sadly, by the time the event rolled around, the boy was terminal and all hope had been lost. The evening was thereby more somber with all hopes of recovery dashed.

There was a drawing for a big screen television and two accompanying easy chairs to make a home theater. When the name of the winner was announced, no one stepped forward. So the hosts of the event said they would hold the merchandise for 24 hours until someone came forward.

The party ensued and about a half-hour later I noticed the television and chairs had been removed from the stage without any fanfare of announcing a winner. I later learned that the fellow who won had been standing right in front but didn’t want to be recognized as the winner.

When he was able to go completely unnoticed, he claimed the prize and then, with the help of three other men and the brother of the boy’s father, the stuff was taken to the boy’s house and set up in their living room.

The man simply donated the whole prize to the family. When they got home that night, they had two new easy chairs set up on either side of the hospital bed the boy occupied. The chairs faced the new television, which was all hooked up with the satellite connection and DVD player.

The boy lasted perhaps another month or so, but during those final days he had his parents at either side of his bed, able to nap when he did, watch videos, home movies and shows together with him and, with the help of hospice, they were right there until his final breath.

The gift this drawing winner gave to that family was so sincere, so thoughtful, so thorough that they begged the uncle, who had helped the guy set all this up, to tell them who he was. But he never did.

The man had made him swear a vow of silence the night he won. We all later heard the story, but none of us ever did find out who made all that happen. It struck an unending chord with me.

Man, if we just put others first as a simple, lifetime habit, can you imagine how enjoyable it would be to get caught in a long line at the grocery store and find it to be an opportunity to meet people and make new friends?

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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One comment on “Credit Where It’s Due

  1. Ron,

    If there’s a flip-side to this trend, it’s that companies who focus on open and honest communication and business practices tend to build wonderful customer loyalty.

    We’ve seen that here at Camp Business and at our other magazines (Parks & Rec Business and Landscape Architect Business). There are lots of other examples of businesses here in our hometown of Medina (Hershey’s Barber Shop, Buehler’s Grocery Store and, ironically, our local Staples) that have earned my loyalty.

    I would guess others have had similar experiences in their towns.

    Thanks for yet another thought-provoking submission — and enjoy your weekend!


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