A customer of mine happens to resemble a full-grown garden gnome. I’ve mentioned him before; his name is John F. Hall and he’s homeless. He’s quite crazy, literally, but he’s also one of the most generous people I’ve ever run across. From his perspective he’s come into a bit of money lately as he’s recently regained his stolen identity and is now receiving a social security check.

For months now he’s been buying packages of buns to feed the “dipsy-doodles,” or birds as you and I might call them. “That’s pretty great,” you might be thinking, “but c’mon, Tim, lots of dirty homeless people like to be one with the pigeons.”

Well, that may be the case, but John also routinely buys food for children and other street people. Lately, though, he’s outdone himself. He’s taken to purchasing rolls of quarters and feeding all the parking meters outside my store so that no one gets a parking ticket. He does this despite the fact that he’s never owned a car of his own in his life.

I have no doubt that some of the cars John spares from an unwanted windshield garnish belong to the very same folks that are disgusted by his appearance and want him to be somewhere –anywhere– far away from them.

I also have no doubt that every person I’ve ever met would benefit from taking the time to get to know someone like John.

Behave yourself.