Saturday, February 18, 2012

A story of integrity

A gentleman visited our store yesterday and as part of the conversation shared this story.

His grandfather, Paul, with his brothers inherited his father’s farm in Iowa. A few years later Paul developed two hernias and could not work the farm. That was before hernia repair was the simple outpatient surgical procedure that it is today. Since he could not work the farm Paul’s brothers bought Paul’s share of the farm. Paul moved into to town and opened a barbershop and saved his money that he received from his portion of the farm. A few years later the Great Depression hit.

Rancher, Tim, while getting his haircut shared with Paul that it looked like he was going to lose his ranch to the bank because times were hard, the price of beef had fallen lower than anyone could remember or even imagine that it could, and he owed the bank for seed and feed for his ranch.

Paul offered to help Tim stay afloat by paying some of the payments to the bank. The two men discussed it. Tim finally accepted the offer with his commitment that he and his wife would work as hard and as frugally as they could, but would accept Paul’s help when they needed it. The two men sealed the agreement with a handshake.

Paul helped pay some of Tim’s loans. Tim and his wife worked the ranch. The Depression finally eased, and the Second World War began.

By the end of WWII Tim had paid back all that Paul had loaned him. Tim kept the ranch. Paul continued to barber. The men became very good friends.

Does anyone today enter into an agreement involving paying off debts to the bank and paying back the money loaned by an agreement that is sealed with a handshake?

That, my friend, is integrity and trust. That is the way part of the world used to work.

Part of the joy of this ministry-which-is-the-store is that I never know who today might visit the store and share a portion of their story.

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