People Matter. Who Are You Cheerleading Today?

Car fueling at the gas station

John is right. It really is, not about me..

Guest Post: Gunnar Simonsen

I didn’t get his name, but I was like his 2nd or 3rd customer as he struggled to pump mine and the other two customers gas. He stood out to me. I had been going to this gas station for years, but there was something about him.

He was trying so hard, but struggling so much that he was apologetic. I mean, he literally just started working there a few minutes before I arrived. 

I remember sitting there wondering what his story was. We all have a story. We just don’t wake up one day experienced.

He seemed to be one that has not lived an easy life.

Seemingly in his mid-forties, he walked with a limp and appeared to me as one who tried hard his entire life to fit in and just be accepted. You could hear it in his apologetic and quite frankly defeated voice.

My heart felt it. My heart felt it in every last word, as if in each, sat the weight of a thousand lifetimes.. or maybe a thousand rejections.

Looking over my shoulder and out the rear passenger side window, he stood there pumping my gas. I told him he was doing fine and that it would be ok and that there was no need to apologize to me. He paused for a second amidst the other cars lined up and seemed shocked that I would even speak to him and tell him such words.

Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t any of us? Are we just too dang important, too busy, or just too distracted with our technology?

I told him he would do fine and he would be a pro at this in no time. And then words flowed from my mouth that I didn’t expect.

I told him he was a good man.

You would have thought the world stopped at that very moment. The look he gave me I will never forget. The weight of a thousand lifetimes and the stress of that moment seemed to fade away right before my very eyes.

I told him I would see him soon, rolled up my window, and drove off. Tears filled my eyes. I prayed right then and right there that Chevron would give him a chance and that he would make the cut. He just looked like he needed to catch a break and get that chance.

That was a year ago.

I walked into that station this morning. Standing there on a quick break, he looked over at me and said..

“You know what? It’s been a year this month that I started here and you know what Chevron has done for me? It helped me buy my first house.”

He was so proud and if I hadn’t been there when he first started, I would never have recognized him. He was a different man. He seemed confident.

I don’t know him. And this is not about me. This is about him. I don’t know who else may ever tell his story. But dang it, I will.

He’s a good man. He just needed a break and maybe some cheerleaders along the way to cheer him on and tell him that he matters and that he is indeed, a good man.

We all need that from time to time, don’t we?

I know I do.

In this, I want to pause for a moment and perhaps cheerlead you. I may not know who you are, where you have been, and what you have done, but.. I want to tell YOU something.

You matter. You are valued. You are loved.

So, who are you cheerleading today? (post a comment and tell us your story)

We love others because He first loved us. Pass it on.

P.S. I would later find out that his name was Matt and before he got the job pumping gas, he was homeless without a hope. Pray for Matt today and for all the Matt’s in your midst. Will you be that hope?

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3 Responses to People Matter. Who Are You Cheerleading Today?

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Praying 4 Matt & many others too… 🙂

  2. “A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    You matter. You are valued. You are loved. Pass it on….

  3. TimC says:

    Thanks Gunnar!

    (And BTW FYI y’all: don’t go thinking that Gunnar is too snooty to pump his own gas. Oregon law does not allow self-serve gas.)

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