Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was
always in a good mood and always had something
positive to say. When someone would ask him
how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any
better, I would be twins!"

He was a unique manager because
he had several waiters who had
followed him around from restaurant
to restaurant. The reason the waiters
followed Jerry was because of his attitude.
He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day,
Jerry was there telling the employee
how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious,
so one day I went up to Jerry and
asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be
a positive person all of the time.
How do you do it?"

Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to
myself, Jerry, you have two choices today.
You can choose to be in a good
mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.
I choose to be in a good mood.
Each time something bad happens,
I can choose to be a victim or I can
choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to me
complaining, I can choose to accept their
complaining or I can point out
the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices.
When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.
You choose how you react to
situations. You choose how people will
affect your mood. You choose to be
in a good mood or bad mood.
The bottom line: It's your choice how you
live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the
restaurant industry to start my own business.
We lost touch, but often thought about him when
I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did
something you are never supposed to do in a
restaurant business: he left the back door open one
morning and was held up at gunpoint by
three armed robbers. While trying
to open the safe, his hand, shaking from
nervousness, slipped off the
combination. The robbers panicked and shot him.

Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly
and rushed to the local trauma
center. After 18 hours of surgery and
weeks of intensive care, Jerry was
released from the hospital with fragments
of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months
after the accident.

When I asked him how he
was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins.
Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him
what had gone through his mind
as the robbery took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was
that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied.

"Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that
I had two choices: I could
choose to live, or I could choose to die.

I chose to live.

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great.
They kept telling me I was
going to be fine. But when they
wheeled me into the emergency room and I
saw the expressions on the faces of the
doctors and nurses, I got
really scared.

In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.'

" I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big, burly nurse
shouting questions at me," said Jerry.
She asked if I was allergic to anything.
'Yes,' I replied.

The doctors and nurses stopped working
as they waited for my reply. I took
a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'

Over their laughter, I told them,
"I am choosing to live. Operate on me as
if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors,
but also because of his amazing attitude.
I learned from him that every day we have the choice to
live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

back to humor page