It Don’t Cost “Nuthin’” to be Nice

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: JUNE CERRETA
Date: Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 6:17 PM
Subject: Fw: It Don't Cost "Nuthin'" to be Nice

To: "Arthur (Pat) Engelberg"

 
THANKS PAT!  AND THANKS, WILL, FOR THINKING OF ME AND
YOUR "HOT" POPPERS—-WISH I HAD SOME!
 PM

It
Don't Cost

"Nuthin'"
to be Nice

At
a Touchdown Club meeting many years before his death, Coach
Paul "
Bear"
Bryant told the following story:

I
had just been named the new head coach at
Alabama
and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a
prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player
and I was havin' trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I
spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front
that simply said "
Restaurant."

I pull up, go in and
every head in the place turns to stare at me.
Seems I'm the only
"white" fella in the place
. But the food smelled
good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A
big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What
do you need?" I told him I needed lunch and what did they have
today?
He says,
"You
probably won't like it here, today we're having chitlins,
collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet
you don't even know what chitlins (small intestines of hogs
prepared as food in the deep South) are, do
you?"
I
looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from
Arkansas
, I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the
right place." They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big
plate.. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around
here then?"

I
explain I'm the new football coach up in
Tuscaloosa
at the
University
and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was and he says,
yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good. And
he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his
coach.

As
I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip,
not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch
was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I
should pay.

The
big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could
hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't
have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to
be asked for, but
I
took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told
him I'd get him one.

I
met the kid I was lookin' for later that afternoon and I don't
remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him
when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I
thought.

When
I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin
from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't
forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a
picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on
it,
"Thanks
for the best lunch I've ever had."

Now
let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black
players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the
country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all
remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to
the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to
Auburn
and he tells me he's got his heart set on
Auburn
too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while
I'm down there.

Two days later, I'm in
my office in

Tuscaloosa
and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down,
and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at
Alabama
?" And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come.
And I say, "Well son,
what
changed your mind
?"
And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to
play for you and I said no, he pitched a fit and told me I
wasn't going nowhere but
Alabama,
and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you
and has ever since y'all met."
Well,
I didn't know his granddad from
Adam's
housecat

so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You
probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant
your first year at
Alabama
and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place
ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still
tells everybody about the day that
Bear
Bryant
came in and had
chitlins
with him."

"My
grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you
to remember him or to send him that picture, but
you
kept your word to him
,
and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said
you
could teach me more than football
and
I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going
to."

I
was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me
were always right.
It
don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the
right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your
good name by breakin' your word to someone.

When
I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's
still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and
he didn't have
chitlins
that day, but he had some
ribs
that woulda made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a
lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones
for him, too, along with a
signed
football.


I
made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and
these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you
remember anything else from me, remember this.
It
really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can
be unimaginable.

Coach
Paul
"Bear" Bryant

Editor's
Note:

Coach
Bryant was in the presence of these few gentlemen for only
minutes, and
he
defined himself for life.

Regardless of our profession,
we
do define ourselves by how we treat others, and how we behave
in the presence of others, and most of the time, we have only
minutes or seconds to leave a lasting
impression.
We
can be
rude,
crude,
arrogant, cantankerous
,
or we can be nice.
Nice
is always a better choice
.
I
like what Stephen Grellet, French/American religious leader
(1773-1855) said,
"I
expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore
that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any creature, let
me do it now. Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this
way again."
 

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