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“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” This quote by Samuel Johnson reminds of one person more than anyone else. A person so selfless, so generous yet he was a part of this same world we all live in, he inhaled the same air we do yet the ideas behind his words have a much different perspective than anything I have seen. This person was my grandfather Haji Qasim. Almost all of the memories I have of my grandfather are from a young age when all my relatives used to meet at my grandparents penthouse apartment. These get togethers were almost like weekly or family reunions. My cousins and I have had some of our best memories in that apartment and we also learned some very valuable lessons. My grandfather was a person who could always see the best in people and see the bright side of any bad situation. His generosity was unparalleled, but his most outstanding quality was his honesty which amazed everyone he met.
I. Sees the best in people and situations
A. Don’t Judge a book by it’s cover
My grandfather always saw the best in people and always gave people with a bad first impression the benefit of the doubt.
* I remember– Chinese restaurant to celebrate the first of my cousins going off to college.
* Aunts, uncles and my grandparents were there. After being seated we were all given individual menus
* Although at the time I was too young to even read the menu
* After a few minutes a waiter came up to us.BUT
* Unlike the other waiters Dirty white shirt, tie was loose, unshaven, (pause) his hair was a mess and he had the look of someone who had just woken up.
* Said, “Whadaya dam Indians want” as he pulled out pencil from behind his ear. His unprofessionalism offended one of my uncles so much that he was about to punch the guy when my grandfather told him to sit down.
* He took him aside and spoke to him out of our earshot. Surprisingly the man came back and had tears in eyes and apologized.
* Although I was very confused I didn’t ask any questions.
* Later I learned from my cousins that our grandfather had asked the man what was wrong and after a few rude answers he finally told him that his wife of 5 years had terminal lung cancer and that is why he was being so rude.
* Although I don’t remember that day very well I do remember the lesson I learned. Now in my own life I try my best not to judge people based on their first impression
A. General store change.
* My grandfather always talked about the right thing to do. According to him there was there were only 2 options, the right thing to do and having done nothing at all.
* I remember one day when a bunch of my cousins were sitting around in the “Pinnacle” which is what we called the apartment building our grandparents live in. Our grandfather decided to take us to the general store to buy us all candy. Now this may seem weird to you but this was a tradition in our family to go buy candy whenever we were at our grandparent’s apartment during the day.
* After we had made our selection the cashier said to my grandfather “that will be 14.50” and my grandfather paid the cashier and took his change. As we were walking back eating our candy nearly half way home my grandfather stopped us and made us walk all the way back to store. We followed him as he got in line again with the same cashier. When it was our turn my grandfather told the cashier that he had given him and extra ten dollars in change from before.
* Not only was the cashier amazed but he told us that it was inspiring to have someone be so honest in his dealings because usually the opposite happens claim they got less change back from the cashier.
* Not only is my grandfather’s way of thinking refreshing but it is also contagious. When I was with him I also started to see the best in people and I learned not judge them by their looks or what they are wearing.
* I always thought that my grandfather was a role model for me to follow but he was much more than that. He was the glue that kept my entire family together. After he passed away in the hospital at the age of 73 our whole family drifted apart. I now have cousins in all parts of the world. Some are Canada, Pakistan, California, New York, and Georgia.
* We no longer have those reunions we used to. And only now do I truly appreciate how great those times we had. I guess it’s true what they say “You don’t know what you had until it’s gone”