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19 December 2007

Service with a Side Order of Thanks

"Hey Parents! There is something new being served in the school cafeteria that might put your child at risk of sickness, or even death. Tune in tonight at 6pm for the details that you must see if you want to keep your child alive!....."

Yikes. Sound familiar? And of course it is often an isolated story from Winslow Arizona ("and such a fine sight to see...") where a horny toad got mixed up in the green bean casserole and little Susy's parents fed the video of the deceased lizard to the media before suing everyone this side of Hogsnart.

Well, I saw something a little different on the news the other day...

First, the back story: a couple of months ago a bright, popular college student gave a deceptively nice guy a ride from a convenience store in the middle of the night near her college. A few days later, her burned, mutilated body was located by searchers in a ditch. Bad guy ran to Mexico. The police caught him and are presumably explaining the finer workings of our criminal justice system, including the sterility of the lethal injection (so he doesn't get an infection of course). Horrific on many levels and as I mentioned previously, be assured that the fine officers who worked on that case day and night are changed in some way by yet another instance of inhuman treatment of others.

Well, the parents of that murdered co-ed were grateful to the dedicated law enforcement effort that solved their daughter's murder, as I am sure most of us would be.

These parents though took it a step further. They hosted a very public ceremony and publicly thanked each and every officer and US marshal that worked on their daughter's case. The grieving parents designed and passed out custom made coins (like challenge coins in the military) with their daughter's name and an inspirational message on it for the officer's to carry with them as a reminder of their dedication when things got tough. They also summoned the news camera's with the stated goal to publicly honor, congratulate and thank the men and women who worked on their case. No grandstanding by the parents, no obvious hidden agenda, no pandering for favors and no political stump speeches. Just honest to goodness thanks - on a gloriously grand scale - for those who did what is often a thankless job.

Wow. How often do we see that? Even better, how often do we do that?

It is hard to throw a penny anymore without hitting someone that operates under the disguise of selfless service...yet really swims in a self congratulatory, ego-maniacal delusion. It is more common that we think. It is therefore especially refreshing to see an example of what appears to be real service and real thanks.

If you know someone that does that too, why not do something special for them? Maybe it will catch on....

We will return to the prepubescent humor tomorrow, okay?

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