It costs nothing to be nice

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Little things mean a lot. Remember that old song? As we say in Lower Alabama, "They's more truth than poetry in that expression."

A case in point was brought home in Greenville recently when a gentleman who is internationally known stopped here en route to a speaking engagement in Mobile.

What he sought was assistance in having minor repairs done to his car, but was rebuffed at the first stop with the terse statement that it was closing time and the matter could be better taken care of the next day.

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He asked if there were another local place that might be able to help solve his problem at that particular hour.

Again he received the cold shoulder. They told him everything was closed and help was unavailable.

Undaunted, and with a bad taste in his mouth for our Camellia City, he hazarded a chance he might yet find help here, despite the cavalier treatment at this first stop.

He drove around until he discovered another place that was in the throes of closing for the day, and politely asked if he might have assistance in solving his problem.

It was then that the red carpet was spread for him and his mechanical malfunction corrected.

He thanked the folks that rescued him, paid up and went along to fulfill his engagement in Mobile.

That ain't all, folks.

On his way back a day or so later, this gentleman stopped here again – this time to express his gratitude once more to his newfound friends.

He also presented the manager with a book authored by himself, autographed it and told the manager he would have a warm place in his heart for our city thanks to the nice treatment he had

received at his place of business.

The converted visitor: Stan Cottrell, an internationally known ultramarathon runner, whose next running engagment was in Russia. He already had logged more than 120,000 miles afoot and the end was not in sight.

The Cottrell book, entitled "No Mountain Too High," by way of illustrating its importance, has an introduction written by Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the famed evangelist Billy Graham.

Incidentally, Mrs. Graham had a first cousin in one of Greenville's outstanding personalities, the late Mrs. Luther G. MacKinnon.

The shop owner who spread the red carpet: Paul MacKinley.

By the way, Cottrell, appreciative of his kind treatment at Paul's establishment, was en route to address the Mobile Chamber of Commerce when he encountered his mechanical problem here.

Let this story be a lesson to you, folks, and remember it doesn't cost you one thin dime to be nice to our visitors.

Little things do mean a lot.

Buster MacGuire is copy editor and columnist for the Greenville Advocate.

He may be reached by calling 334.382.3111.