Work and its Rewards

by carlocmd

Spent the day with my son.

There was a typhoon that cancelled classes for the day. With the official announcement, the rains suddenly decided to stop. Consequently, there were more than the usual number of patients at the clinic.

My son would keep himself busy with drawings or paper airplanes. As the last patient left, he peeked in and said, “I’m really hungry, daddy.”

Oh my. It was way past lunch. I had forgotten to eat again.

We went to the restaurant on the first floor. Due to the lateness of the hour, there were just a few patrons left. We ordered his favorite food… shrimp tempura and a banana split. We were talking about his day, his favorite airplane shape, and his school activities.

I told him stories of when I was young, how I would go to my father’s place of work, and eat with him after school.

He asked a funny question: “Daddy, why is it when we eat, it costs a lot of money?”

“I think I know,” he laughed, “it’s because you eat too much!”

And he laughed one of his rare laughs, being a naturally shy boy. It made me happy to hear him.

When we were done, I asked him to raise his hand and ask for the bill. The waiter came and whispered that the bill was already settled. I spied a friend from across the room and waved.

“Let’s go,” I said.

“But daddy,” he began, “we haven’t paid for our meal yet!”

“Yes,” I told him, “somebody paid for our meal already.”

“Who?” He asked, “Why would he do that?”

“He’s Daddy’s friend,” I explained, “one of many whom Daddy has helped in the clinic through the years. He’s just returning a favor.”

I looked around for our benefactor, but he had gone by then.

When I stood up, my son stood in front of me and said, “Stop, Daddy! How do you know that our food has been paid for? Will you please ask the waiter.”

He stood there, quite set and determined. It was only with the waiter’s go-ahead that he finally took my hand and led me out.

We had always taught our kids that to get the best out of life, you have to be willing to work for it. That there are no free lunches. He has taken this lesson to heart and has worked on his school work with quiet focus and persistence. His academic and personal excellence are a testament to this.

“We got free food!” He told his mom as we got home. “All because daddy worked hard and made someone happy!”

There’s a life lesson here that I hope he learned.