Something comes to mind that happened to me once. It was my first job in the field of conservation and my boss was a real hard ass, but secretly a kind man. I had a six month old son and was a 20 year old single mom. I had just found out some bad news and was really sinking financially. My son’s dad was dipping in and out. I wasn’t emotionally mature enough for a relationship at the time. I had too much on my plate. One thing after another. I was the only woman on a crew of seven men, working to plant trees, fix USFS roads and restore habitats in the PNW for ten hours a day. Too girlie to relate to the guys, too manly for my girlfriends. Nobody understood. I felt hopeless.
One day I cried on lunch break, it was all stacking up and I was cracking under pressure. After work the next day, as the other crew members filtered out of the work trucks, my boss said to me, “Just wait for a second.” I was irritated because I thought he was going to ream me for my work performance (which he frequently did, for everyone). Instead, he waited until everyone was gone, pulled out his wallet and took a wad of cash out. He said “I don’t know how much is here, cause I just grabbed a handful. But I want you to take every dollar in my wallet and help get yourself out of that hole you’re in.”
It’s been almost a decade since then, and my life has been completely turned around. I’m deliriously happy now. That gruff, sour old forester made a big change in my life, and for much more than that moment. I’ll always appreciate having the opportunity to know and work for him.