My old Gatehouse. I worked as a Gate Guard for five years in a gated community in Central Florida.
The Joy Of Giving
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Being a Gate Guard for one of these gated communities in Central Florida is not fun at all. For five years, I worked as a Gate Guard. I have to say that I have never met so many snobby and rude people as the residents of this particular gated community. Not all the residents are like this, but a lot of them are.
Working as a Gate Guard ain’t all fun and games. Sadly, you have to deal with a lot of snobs and really rude people.
So, when I was at my Gatehouse, I truly cherished the kind folks, the decent people, the down-to-earth types. One of the nicest individuals to go by my Gatehouse on a regular basis, was a young man named Jim. I was working the early morning shift during this era. I would get to work at about quarter to six in the morning and officially begin my shift at six o’clock.
When I would arrive at my Gatehouse at about quarter to six in the morning, it would still be dark outside.
Like clockwork, Jim would come to my Gatehouse at about quarter past six in the morning. Jim was about 35 years old. He drove an old Ford F-150 truck. He worked as a sheetrock installer, in the area where they were building new homes. Jim was a rather religious man. He would often share with me some insights that he had learned in his weekly Bible study.
I always did my best to keep a smile on my face, in my job as a Gate Guard. Even when rude people would curse me out for simply doing my job.
One day, Jim drove up to my Gatehouse and introduced me to his son. Jim told him that his son, Jimmy, had just turned 13. Jim told me that he was going to teach his son the art of putting up sheetrock. I remember Jim told me, “I want my son to learn a good trade.”
Every morning I brought my Bible to work. I found a great comfort in reading the Bible in the midst of dealing with so many intensely rude people.
Well, I think it was the third or fourth day that Jim and Jimmy stopped at my Gatehouse, that I noticed Jimmy was wearing a Batman T-shirt. I remember complimenting Jimmy on his very cool Batman T-shirt. Jim spoke up and said, “yea, Jimmy loves Batman. I just bought him the newest Batman movie on DVD.”
Then Jimmy spoke up and said, “yea, it was cool.”
Well, when I got home from work that afternoon, I went through my Batman comic books to find doubles. I was amazed at how many doubles I did have. I must have had about 35 Batman copies, that I had doubles of. So, I packed them up in an old brown paper bag and put them in my car, to give to Jimmy the next day.
My shift began at six in the morning and lasted till just after lunch time. Eating lunch at my desk, was one of my simple joys of being a Gate Guard.
Well, sure enough, Jim and Jimmy stopped at my Gatehouse on their way to install sheetrock. I handed Jim the brown paper bag filled with a stack of Batman comic books and simply said, “here Jim, here’s a little present for your son.”
Well, Jim opened up the paper bag and saw that it was a stack of Batman comic books. Then, he handed the brown paper bag to his son. Well, it was like I had given Jimmy a million dollars. Jimmy opened the paper bag and took out some of the Batman comic books. He was smiling from ear to ear.
“Thank you Mr. Richard,” Jimmy gleefully shouted out. That’s what Jim wanted Jimmy to call me, Mr. Richard. I told Jimmy he was welcomed. Then Jim thanked me for giving his son all the Batman comic books.
It was a rather simple moment in time. Incredibly simple. Today, I thought about that ear-to-ear smile that brightened Jimmy’s face when he opened up that old paper bag and saw that stack of Batman comic books. That moment was priceless to me.
Sometimes among the lines of rude people. Among the lines of stuck up snobs. Among the lines of people who curse you out, for simply doing your job. Along comes a down-to-earth, salt of the earth, father and son. They carry no airs, no pretensions. The dad is just driving his beat up, old Ford F-150, with his son to spend the day putting up sheet rock. And, he brings his young son to work with him because he wants his son to learn a good trade.
The Gate Guards are truly the unsung heroes of every gated community in Florida!
Among all those rich snobs, those mean spirited people, those people who would curse me out for just doing my job, men like Jim and Jimmy made it all worthwhile. And so, please do remember that no matter how many rude people cross your path in a day, know that there are still good, kind, decent people in this world.