What The Indian Taught Me

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I have a simple saying that goes like this... "There are 6.2 billion people on this planet and I can learn something new from every one of them." Here is a true story about what I learned from a Miccosukee Indian named Roy. I live on a lake in Miami Florida, and a couple of years ago I noticed that one of my neighbors had paid someone to build a Tiki Hut in his backyard near the lake. The Tiki Hut was made of Cypress Wood and was very attractive. My wife and I decided that we wanted to get one and I asked my neighbor where he got his Tiki Hut. He replied, "the Miccosukee Indians built it for me." I asked him how to get in touch with the Indians who built it, and he game me the phone number of an Indian named Roy. I called Roy and told him that I wanted a Tiki Hut like the one he had built for my neighbor. Roy said he would come out to my house and give me an estimate. A few days later Roy arrived at my house to give me an estimate. I told him where I wanted it built and what size I wanted. Roy said the price was $1,900 dollars....I was impressed as I expected it to cost more. I told Roy I would contact him when I was ready to proceed and he left. A few weeks later I called Roy and told him that I was ready to have him come out and build my Tiki Hut. I have worked with housing contractors many times in the past and I expected that Roy would require a 50% deposit to get started with the work. When I asked Roy about the deposit his reply was " I will come to your home and build the Tiki Hut,and when I am finished you can pay me." I was shocked! In all my years of dealing with contractors and sub-contractors I had never heard anybody say this. They always required a deposit and usually wanted cash. Roy told me he would be out in a week to build the Tiki Hut. One week later Roy and his crew of 4 Indians arrived at my home to build my Tiki Hut. They had a trailer filled with palm fronds and beautiful Cypress Wood. For the next 8 hours they meticulously worked constructing the Tiki Hut. Some friends stopped by and we watched together in amazement as they built the Tiki Hut using techniques that had been passed down for generations. When they were just about finished I noticed that Roy was sitting at the top of the Tiki Hut....he was looking off into the distance as if he was looking back to another time many years earlier. I took a photo of Roy as he rested on the top of my new Tiki Hut. Before Roy had arrived that day I had gone to the bank to cash a check for $1,900 dollars. I placed 19 crisp $100 dollar bills in a plain white envelope. Now that the work was complete, I shook Roy's hand and thanked him for doing such a great job. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the envelope and handed it to Roy. Roy looked me in the eye and placed the envelope in his pocket...he never once looked to see what was inside the envelope, he said goodbye, got into his truck and drove away. Think about this story, read it to your children, Roy's example is one to be followed for the rest of our lives. When Roy made a promise he kept it...he is a man of his word. We must make it a habit to always keep our word, no matter how small the promise.

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