Treating ’em well

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

I recently came across this quote and instantly recalled an incident when my partner and I had taken a romantic boat ride on a lake once. The sun was going down and it was just the two of us on a large motorboat decorated with richly embroidered upholstery, being served chilled soft drinks and chocolates by a young boatman.

I was feeling a little bit sullen because my partner kept looking out the side of the boat, refusing to hold my hand because he felt it was unbecoming in the conservative little town where we were. To pass the time, he began chatting up the boatman, whom we both soon realised, had a chronic stammer.

But my partner pretended not to notice, nodding his head in understanding even if he couldn’t make out a word the poor young boy was trying to say. Not once did he ask the boy to repeat himself. Not once did he interrupt him or fill in his incomplete sentences. He just kept asking questions about the place and its people, slowly nodding in acknowledgement every time the boy stammered back his reply. I couldn’t figure out a word. To an onlooker, though, it would have seemed to be a conversation of equals, a dialogue between two well-connected minds.

My sullenness instantly melted away. The ride only made me love him all the more for his respect of the ‘little people’ and his kindness at those less fortunate than him. At the end of the ride, the boy seemed to have grown twice in height in confidence, beaming in a sense of worthiness and self-esteem.

If the measure of a man is how well he treats those who can do him absolutely no good, then my love is right up there as the wealthiest man in the world.


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