The Light of Empathy

The Light of Empathy

I, like many people, take my own talents for granted. There are many things I can do, and when I want to do them, I just do them and they are done. These are therefore not a big deal to me.

On the other hand, to someone who is unable to do them, they are a big deal. I work at The Home Depot. It is my job to help people. I help people everyday, but sometimes I get an opportunity to change or improve someone’s life.

A few days ago I met a lady who was recently widowed. Her name was Shirley. She came in and asked if Home Depot could install two light fixtures for her. She had already purchased them from a mail order catalog and showed me the pictures she cut out of her magazine. The truth is that our district is one of few that to don’t install lights or fans. I explained this to her and apologized. I asked if she knew anyone else who could help her. This is when everything changed for me.

She said her husband used to do all these things. She went on to say she had called seven different electricians and no one returned her call. She did not even have a power source where the lights were to be installed because her apartment complex would not allow this. She accepted this and decided she was content to have them hung just for decorations.

When people are asked questions, it is just a reflex to simply answer them. Many people in retail believe their purpose to be just that. I suppose they are not wrong. However, I did not hear a question for which I was to  provide an answer. I saw a poor defeated lady who just wanted to improve her surroundings and all it would take was someone willing to care enough about her.

Home Depot does not generally make a practice of going to customer homes to do this kind of thing. Particularly not when it for something they did not buy from us. I wanted to see a good ending for her, and so I asked for her phone number and told her I would call her in an hour. I said, “Shirley I am going to figure this out for you. Go home and wait for my call.”

I got permission from a manager to leave work early and go to her home and take care of this for her. When I called Shirley and told her of this she did not believe me at first. She was overjoyed and could not believe this was going to happen the same day we spoke of it. She asked me how much I charged. I laughed and said “nothing”. She cried and said “Thank you so much”.

I got to her home and put up the lights, but kept thinking how much better it would be if the lights were to work. When I got finished, I asked her to come by the store the next day because I had an idea for how to make the lights work.

The next morning as soon as i got to work, I took two regular light bulbs and glued a battery powered LED light to them. When she came in they were finished. She remarked that this never would have occurred to her. She said,”Tom you are an amazing brilliant man”. To which I replied, “Yes ma’am I really am. How astute of you to see that”. She laughed. She then cried and hugged me and then I cried. She could not have been happier. Sadly my job with her, was done.

I think how tragic it would have been if she had gone to another store or spoke with another associate. I count myself lucky was the person she asked. it is sad to imagine her walking out of the store no better off than she went in. I take great pride in having a job at a company that celebrates this type of initiative and allows me to make this opportunity into a reality.

It doesn’t happen everyday or even every month. Sometimes when I think the things I do are not important or that they don’t matter, I think back to some of the Shirleys or Edies I have encountered. It is then I am fully aware why I do what I do.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

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A Stop Sign for Edie

2016-05-01 16.21.07I am Tom Nardone. I work at the Home Depot in the electrical dept. Having been there for 17 years, I have a wide array of skill sets and therefore I am one of the default people who are called upon to answer questions not known by some of the junior associates. You know because… I’m awesome.

Near the beginning of April I was called to the front of the store and asked to speak with a lady named Betty. She explained to me that the girl she was with, was her grand-daughter and her name was Edie.

They were out looking for a stop-sign because Edie desired to have one hanging on the wall in her room. I explained to her we did not carry them and was not sure where they could get this anywhere else.

I noticed that this made Edie upset and I could tell from her movements and mannerisms she was Autistic. Home Depot is, and has been for years very involved in “Autism Awareness”. This was the beginning of April which is Autism Awareness month so I decided I would take a project upon myself and make a difference in the life of another. I asked Edie, “Edie what if I was to make a stop sign for you?” she smiled very big and I was sure I would figure out how to do this for her.2016-05-01 16.21.21

I wanted to make the sign very big. It was 4 feet square and the first thing I did was to cut out the octagon. This was a challenge but I got it done because you know, Tom Nardone.

I painted it red but I was unsure at my ability to properly write out the letters. I enlisted the help of a coworker who runs the flooring dept. She got the letters traced out and began to paint them.

I tried to get in touch with Betty (Edie’s grandmother) but no matter how many times I called I was unsuccessful. I told Chris don’t worry about finishing because I had not heard back from her in a few days and I was not sure I would. A week went by then two and I had all but given up on it. I stored the unfinished sign and put it out of my head. I was very disappointed. I thought maybe she did not really want it and seeing my excitement, she just could not bring herself to tell me so.

2016-05-01 16.20.55Then quite unexpectedly today on the first of May she came back to enquire about it. I told her I would have it done by 4 o’clock and to come back.

I managed to finish the letters and the trim and it was ready.

Edie showed up with her parents and was so excited she kept asking if she could see it. I took her and her parents and her sister to the back of the store and asked them to wait while I went to get her brand new stop sign, and brought it out and put it in front of her. The look on her face was worth it all. She was so excited she seemed not to know how to behave. She agreed to have her picture taken with me. That was my favorite part.

I suppose no one would have thought any less of me if I had a month ago simply explained that I did not know where to find a stop sign. If I had simply asked them to check the internet which is quickly becoming the most common answer when people don’t know where to get things.

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Rarely in our lives do opportunities present themselves and just as rare are our ability to see them as such. I am unaware of how many I have missed, but I am quite aware of those I have seized.

Edie is a lovely girl and I do not see as a seized opportunity, but I do see the both of us as the beneficiaries of an opportunity not lost.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

1400You can Listen to The Tom Nardone Show on Itunes or at thetomnardoneshow.com

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Chasing Kites with Tom Nardone

Thanks to my good friend Eric Tivers for having me on ADHD Rewired to talk about my Book. You can listen to Eric on ADHD Rewired, iTunes, or Soundcloud. New episode every Tuesday.

front-200x300Popular returning guest Tom Nardone, of The Tom Nardone Show, walks through his book Chasing Kites, detailing his childhood stories of dealing with life, school, family, and ADHD.

Go to erictivers.com/105 for the full show notes and links mentioned in this episode.

Purchase a copy of Tom Nardone’s book HERE

Go to meetme.so/erictivers to schedule a free 20-minute consultation with Eric if you’re interested in the next Coaching and Accountability Group.

Or, if you want more information about the next ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability Group, go to coachingrewired.com.

For a free audio-book download from our sponsor Audible.com, please visit AudibleTrial.com/ADHDreWired

Help the CHADD organization by donating to their fundraising campaign here: gofundme.com/oneof15m.

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An Unforgettable Halloween w/ Kotex & Brody Bricker

Halloween-brody-brickerThis Halloween is remembered by many.

I have written about Brody Bricker before and some of you love him and some of you hate him. He was my best friend as a child growing up from the third grade through the seventh grade. He was a very bad kid and lived to cause mischief. Read of his other exploits here.

One Halloween when we were nine-years-old, I went to Brody’s house before we were to go out trick-or-treating. When I arrived, he did not yet have his costume on. I went as Batman and he was going to be Superman. When I entered his house his mother told me to go back to his room. Continue reading

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Used Shit is the Best Shit

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tom-nardone-used-shit

People love to buy new shit for themselves. I count myself among them. There is nothing quite like unwrapping a new TV or a new laptop. Open the box and tear open the plastic. The smell of the factory air enters my nose as if to tell me, “Tom, I am yours. Use me and abuse me.”

Not everything you buy should be new. There are some things we are better off buying used. There are certain things you should never buy new. Continue reading

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Tom & Yvonne Nardone Take Orlando

tom-nardone-universal-studios-Orlando

EXPECTO-PATRONUM

My wife and I went to Orlando Florida this past week. I was not real wild at the idea of going anywhere that was not my man-cave or my living room. I am on record with my feelings on ever leaving the house. I still cannot believe we went this far away from home. I have lots of anxiety about being far from home and my chair; even when we go out for an hour or two.

We had made and paid for our reservations so our departure was eminent. I thought there was a glimmer of hope when Yvonne told me it would be overcast and rainy all next week in Orlando. I was actually euphoric for a moment and thought, “WOW we may be going to Orlando, but at least we don’t have to do anything!”

Later when I came home I found a bag on the kitchen table containing two ponchos. Yes, apparently my wife is hell-bent on doing shit while we are in Orlando. She was so committed that she was willing to do it in the rain if need be. I have got to admire her tenacity.

The morning before we left, things almost got gangster between us. spidertom--OrlandoShe was showing me you-tube videos of the rides at Universal Studios. There are a lot of rides there. The videos were of the insane people who have dared to ride on these machines designed to scare the shit out of their customers. I have no interest in shitting in my pants unless I am at work and trying to think of a reason to leave early. I told Yvonne I would not be riding them.

She then points out the fact that a bunch of kids are shown on the ride having a great time and laughing. “Sorry Yvonne, those kids are not yet smart enough to realize the risk they are taking. They are also with their parents and when kids are with their parents, there is an implied safety they feel. The demeanor of those kids is by no means based on their research or knowledge of the world.” It could simply be that their parents are without the benefit of brains.

tom-and-yvonne-nardone-Orlando

Tom & Yvonne

The Car trip was quite exciting. Yvonne and I are not used to paying tolls. We don’t travel on toll roads ever and Florida has toll roads. We went into the line at the toll booth, and I think the lady said,”$3.00 please”.  I handed her my debit card, but this was, of course, not good enough. Apparently the toll booth industry is a cash-only business. She gave us a card and asked us to please mail them a payment within a few days. (HAHA Yeah Okay). The next toll booth we went to the wrong booth it was the exact change booth, and there was no attendant. We sat there for a moment looking at each other, and then simply drove off. I have to say, for us, this felt like a real Bonnie and Clyde moment.

tom-nardone-Garbage-Gardens

Garbage Gardens

Arriving in Orlando

Finally, we arrived at our hotel. Our accommodations at “Garbage Gardens” were not bad. I mean a hotel in Orlando for fifty bucks a night is not easy to find, but I am glad we did. The toilet did not flush so I came up with the great plan of filling up the garbage can with water from the tub and flushing it that way. I don’t recommend you use hot water if you find yourself ever needing to do this; WOW.

tom-nardone-Heather-Carter-williams

Heather & Carter Williams

Day one: at the park we went straight to the Harry Potter ride called “Diagon Alley”.  I will admit it was impressive but we waited in line for Five Hours. I don’t care how awesome it was, it was not worth five hours of my life that I will never get back. However Yvonne and I met a lovely lady named Heather Williams, and her son Carter. We laughed and joked and told stories. They were completely awesome. They both gave us the ins and outs of the park. Their tips helped Yvonne and I avoid a lot of rookie mistakes.

Day two: was completely awesome. We did nothing but sit in the room all day and watch house of cards on Netflix. Our asses were whipped from the twelve hour visit the day before.

Day three: was crazy. Yvonne had been trying to get me to go on these insane roller coasters and I refused over and over. However, I got an impulse and decided to ride “The Hulk”. This is an ass-twisting, shit-extracting, white knuckle thrill ride of a roller coaster. There was NO line so I said, “Okay Yvonne, let’s do it.” We went right up to the entrance and entered the ride. It lasted about forty-five seconds. When we got off the ride, Yvonne was nearly catatonic. I was fine. But Yvonne was not interested riding any more insane rides; which was fine with me.

We spent the last two days at the ADDA Conference. That story will be on my other blog. We were in Orlando for five nights and we did not eat out every night. We went to the grocery store but we forgot to buy forks or spoons. I think the sight of me eating potato salad out of the container with my fingers was a little more than Yvonne was ready to witness. God bless her.

The ride home was fun. Yvonne and I talked and laughed for almost the whole eight hours. I think in some ways this was the best part of the trip. Yvonne is funny and a great conversationalist. I love her more than I love sitting on my ass.

Seeing my house as we pulled in was wonderful. Upon entering my home I saw the greatest thing of all. My chair was waiting patiently for me. I could almost hear it begging for my ass to plant itself firmly in its bosom. Life is good.

I am Tom Nardone and you are welcome.

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Getting Hired. I am the Pied Piper, Follow Me!

pied-piper-getting -hiredGetting hired is a skill those of us with ADHD need to possess. As ADHD people we can sometimes find ourselves being shit-canned from jobs. I know some of you may be offended by this idea, but believe it or not many of the traits we exhibit can have a negative impact on our employer’s perception of us and the job we do. We carry this failure into the next interview, while doubting our own ability, and end up not getting hired.

Getting hired is not a contest, but a form of art. It is a game. It is a dance. Getting hired is something I have accomplished over twenty times in a single year. It sure as hell was not because I was the most qualified person for the job twenty times. It is because I am a fan of the art, I understand the game, and there are few better at the dance than I. Continue reading

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Teenagers v/s Parents

Teenagers! Respect the Code

 

Teenagers-tom-nardone-4There is a code that exists between parents and teenagers who are sixteen and older. With little kids it is easy because they don’t know shit. They don’t even know that they don’t know shit. You tell them there is an Easter bunny or a fat-ass man dressed in red who flies around once a year to deliver gifts and they just buy it. Little kids are not educated enough about the world to think they know how it works. In this regard, they are perhaps smarter than many teenagers. Teenagers think they understand shit. It is so annoying. Continue reading

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Lying, It’s Not Just Necessary, It’s Fun!

lying-tom-nardone-homelessWe have all been told since we were kids lying is wrong. I think it is a fine lesson. Kids lying should not be permitted by parents. They should admit their wrong doings and face the consequences. When I was a child, I did not ever consider lying to my parents. However, I am not a child any more. Continue reading

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Commitment: I Beg You All, Love Yourself Enough to Avoid This

The Commitment Coefficient

tom-nardone-couchI do not like making commitments to other people. I do not appreciate being put in a position to where other people depend on me. Chances are if you ask me to do something, it is most likely something I do not want to do. If I were to give you a commitment, well then I have now added pressure to the task. Continue reading

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