News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

December 26, 2013

RONN MOTT: Caring

I was watching TV the other night and the star of NCIS, Mark Harmon, was making a pitch for us to give to a famous charity and it ended with “CBS cares.” I would guess that is true, for whatever it is worth. They seem to have their stars talking about the fact that CBS cares. Caring is easily said … I’m sure there’s many a man who has said, “You know I care, you know I love you, etc., etc. etc.”

I ran into a business man’s caring the other day. I was buying a lottery ticket at the office of Baesler’s Market on East Poplar Street. Evidently there was a cash overage of quite a bit of money, so Baesler’s Market, by their own accounting, a couple of grand ahead of where their books should have balanced. A few days before that, a customer had bought a huge amount of scratch-off tickets to give to his employees, friends, or family (I don’t know for sure). And Mr. Baesler thought he may have been short-changed in the transaction. The customer said, “To my knowledge there hasn’t been anything out of place as far as the money I have spent.”

But here was Mr. Baesler, away from his office, trying to see if this was where the situation had occurred. They couldn’t resolve it at the time but the customer promised he would check his books.

A lot of business executives, during this busy time of the year, would have said they would catch it later. Or, perhaps, a penny found is a penny earned. But Bob Baesler, on the grocery store floor, was trying to find out if this man had lost this money and, if he had, it could be returned to him. I would say that’s a definitive side of caring.   

Sometime back, a person had ordered a cake from Baesler’s. It was either for a wedding or a big birthday celebration and that person lived over in Clay County, Ind. … not exactly on the beaten path and quite a distance away from Baesler’s Market. Rather than stick an employee with the task of taking the cake to the person, Mr. Baesler delivered the cake so it would get there in time for the celebration.

A few weeks ago, inside the store, a church group was selling pies. I asked the lady behind the table if she and others had baked the pies. She said, “No, Baesler’s donated the pies for us.” Mr. Baesler doesn’t know I’m writing about him and his generosity to the people who live here, but it’s easy to see you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to recognize this generosity and empathy at work. It’s obvious during the Christmas season when the Salvation Army is inside ringing the bell for all the good work they do.  

I’ve gotten to know Bob Baesler slightly because I have, in the past, sold him advertising and even did some of the commercials for him. I know he is reticent about coming forward with these small acts of kindness. I suppose it’s easy for all of us to say we care one way or another, dropping the money into the Salvation Army tins, but somewhere, somebody knows that at Baesler’s Market, Mr. Bob does, indeed, care and I learned that, once again, while I stood waiting to buy a lottery ticket.

I learned about caring and I would guess what I learned in our hustle and bustle of buying presents the true meaning of Christmas. It is, simply, caring. That’s my Christmas story in the week of the celebration of the Christ Child’s birth. So, for you dear readers … a caring Christmas season to you and yours.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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