Perspectives: There is no such thing as a coincidence

OPINION – I stopped believing in coincidences a few years ago. That’s not to say that others should stop as well. But occasionally something happens that reminds me why mere chance is overrated.

Last weekend was one of those occasions.

We had traveled to Southern Idaho to attend my wife’s parents’ mission farewell. This meant an 8-hour drive each way with a very brief visit sandwiched in between.

My in-laws had invited family and friends to come to their home for a last cookout and get together. Dozens of them attended. My father-in-law’s barbequed ribs were solid incentive to make the journey.

Amidst the crowd, I spied a familiar face. It was my old boss from when I was a teenager.

Bob was the owner of a couple of drug stores in Twin Falls. My father had been the manager of one of them and I had worked at both stores part time.

Bob was a wonderful employer. One afternoon when I had been out delivering prescriptions, I returned to the store unusually late. Bob asked me why it took me so long to make the deliveries.

I explained that one of the deliveries was to an elderly widow named Grace whose health prevented her from leaving her home. She was terribly lonely and always wanted to visit when I delivered her medicine.

I told Bob that I always saved Grace’s delivery for last because I knew she’d want to visit for a few minutes. Bob thought for a moment and then told me to take as much time as I needed when dropping off her prescriptions.

The bottom line was not as important to Bob as the opportunity to provide a needed kindness.

I remembered how, many years ago when my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, Bob made one of the most selfless decisions possible. As my dad’s health declined, he was unable to work for most of the last year of his life.

Bob continued to pay my father’s medical insurance premiums and also paid his life insurance premiums until the day he passed away.

No man-made law compelled him to shoulder those costs. But Bob willingly made the sacrifice that enabled my mother to pay off her house and avoid being bankrupted by astronomical medical bills.

There’s a reason his name is spoken with love and admiration amongst our family. His kindness has continued to bless us nearly 25 years later.

As Bob and I visited last weekend, he shared with me a couple of pieces of information that helped complete the bigger picture for me.

When my dad first contracted cancer I was 11 years old. His recovery from surgery and radiation therapy took a long time, after which he struggled for years to find employment.

Bob had hired and then let my dad go after a couple of months when I was roughly 14, he said. Dad’s health was still shaky enough that it affected his ability to work.

I knew that my father had looked for work unsuccessfully for the better part of five years, but I didn’t know Bob had actually hired him during that time.

Bob related how, a couple of years later, my father had approached him and asked forgiveness for the hard feelings he had held. Bob, of course, had no idea that my dad had been angry with him, but forgave him without hesitation.

He shared with me how that simple act of humility had touched his heart and a short time later he hired dad as the manager of his other store. Bob spoke of how grateful he was for hiring my father. Dad loved working for Bob and poured his heart into it for the next six years.

I thought about all this as I made the long drive home.

What some might try to explain away as a long series of happy coincidences looks very different to me. I see a number of conscious choices by one man to do good to others. The effects of his choices continue to bless my family’s lives after many decades.

I see the power of forgiveness in allowing others to move forward unburdened by past mistakes.

More than anything, I see the hand of a loving Creator in the acts of a humble man who has lived the Golden Rule as well as anyone I’ve ever known.

The world needs more people like Bob.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • D Hodja April 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Didn’t we just get a whole weekend here in Utah of LDS do-gooder stories with cancer cases and widows and wonderful Mormons saving the world with their so obviously true beliefs. Good-grief give it a break!

    • Biden 2016 April 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Why do you let the Mormons get under your skin? Try ignoring them. They are living rent free in your head.

    • JAR April 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      D. Hodja,
      Sounds like your weekend viewing of the WWW Wrestling Matches were interupted by those dang meaningless, televised LDS assemblies. Sorry for your loss.
      Maybe, If you own a dog or cat, you could go out and kick it in the backside. Might help your outlook on life and at the same time, send a measage to Mr. Hyde his down to earth stories are not appreciated.

  • Adam April 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    A loving creator is not necessary for people to live by the golden rule.

  • Biden 2016 April 7, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Great story Bryan.

    • skip2maloo April 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

      I agree, to some extent. Hyde does better with these intimate snapshots of concrete living than with the pseudo intellectual claptrap disguised as moral and political philosophizing. I do, though, wonder if they’d be improved by letting the moral of each tale tell itself without being so heavily handed to us.

  • Bub April 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    LOL, Hyde is from Idaho. I guess this is why his brain works the way it does. Nothing against Idaho, but having lived there once, I’ll never live there again 😀

  • Scott Bolander April 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Nice story Brian. I believe positive thinking, attitude, and outlook, also have a lot to do with it.

  • Figby April 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    That’s a nice story about a nice guy, and I’ll even forgive the fact that you give God half of the credit for Bob’s good works, but the framing headline and framing paragraphs make no sense. Nobody would hear about Bob’s behavior and call it a coincidence, and nobody would hear about your dad’s fortunes and misfortunes and call them a coincidence.

    OF COURSE there’s such a thing as a coincidence, it just means “two things happening at the same time” and there are a million every day. But good people are good people and nobody calls that a coincidence at all…

    • Bub April 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Not worth trying to decipher Hyde’s logic…

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