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在演講協會（Toastmasters）我寫演講稿，偶爾也為他人寫演講稿、或為他人修改演講稿。茲列幾個月前經手的兩篇：「創意的中文菜名」是十餘歲小朋友在中文學校的演講稿；「Kindness and Wisdoms」是Roosevelt在演講協 會（Toastmasters）年度 演講比賽的演講稿。
I am going to share a personal story on kindness and wisdoms.
25 years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One day around 2:30AM, I arrived at a building that was dark except for a dim light on the ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice; wait a minute and drive away if no response. But, I realized many people depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless the situations smelled of danger, I always went to the door to offer my assistance … of course I might get more tips () which were important to a young cab driver. So, I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute” answered a frail, elderly voice. After a long silence, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a pint dress with a pillbox hat with a veil penne on it. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.
“Would you take my bag out to the car” she said. I took the bag to the cab then returned to assist her. She took my arm. We walked slowly to my cab. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
“Oh, it’s nothing” I said. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother or … my grandmother () to be treated.”
When we got to the car, she gave me an address and asked: “could you drive me through downtown.” “It is not the shortest way” I said.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I am in no hurry … I am on my way to my niece’s…. and my doctor says … I must be in no hurry … Heaven can wait. ” I quietly reached out and shut off the meter.
“Which route would you want me to take, Madam?”
“You have a beautiful accent, young man… Where are you from?” “Haiti.”
“You must have been here for a long time?” “6 years.”
“Do you go to school?” “Yes, University of Houston, computer science major” “Computer science. That’s a great field! I taught applied Mathematics at City College in NY for 32 years. You speak English properly, young man.” “Oh, thank you. But, I have [pause] an accent.”
“Everyone has an accent… Don’t try to have mine or anyone else’s.” As if she wanted to bless me and pass her wisdoms to me, she continued: “Never accept something just because someone you trust says it. Examine it! Young man”
“There is always a story behind every story. Look for it.”
“You were made to communicate well. Express it!”
And, she went on and on. And I intentionally listened. For the next 2 hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she once worked as an elevator operator. We drove to the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pulled up in front of a furniture warehouse that was once a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a little girl. Sometimes, she would ask me to slow down in front of a building or a corner and she would stare in the dark saying nothing. Suddenly, she said :“I am tired. Let’s go.”
We drove to the destination. Two young boys came out quickly; they must have been waiting for her. I opened up the trunk and I gave them the suitcase.
“How much do I owe you?” “Oh nothing”, I said. “Oh no, you must make a living. “
“There are other passengers.” Almost without thinking, I bent over and gave her a hug. She held me back tightly and said “You gave an old woman a small moment of Joy. Thank you!”
My fellow Toastmasters members, don’t you think … kindness is the least thing we can offer to others and receive the most out of it?!
BTW, I still keep my [pause] accent. Mr./Madam Contest Master!
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