A True Measure of a Man


There is nothing worse than seeing a person I like, being nasty to another person for no apparent reason.


I’ve walked out on dates who were rude to staff. A person I’ve admired online, was so grossly foul while ordering coffee, I lost all respect for (s)him when we met in real life.

The way a person treats another is really that serious.


My father taught me that by his actions, not words. He was recruited by M.I.T. from Japan and came to the U.S. speaking only two languages: Japanese and binary. Even after living in the U.S. for 20+ years, he still spoke broken EngRish.

I used to be mortified in public with him. His voice was loud. His English was poor. Yet no matter how atrocious his grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, he still talked to everyone in a pleasant manner. And I mean e v e r y o n e.

At restaurants he frequented, the entire staff knew my farther. From the valets, wait staff to busboys and the kitchen. The chefs would take my brother and I to the kitchen for special menus. (These were 5 star dining rooms.) When we drove through Half Moon Bay, my father would stop by his favorite farms and greet farmers working the fields. They only spoke Spanish and he spoke zero Spanish but somehow they were able to communicate. At his work, from security and maintenance staff to his assistants, colleagues and C-level execs, people would smile and wave hello as he walked by. He took after my grandmother, who treated every single person the same: like they mattered.

Conversely, my mother was snooty and condescending to people who she thought were beneath her (gardener, cleaning people, store clerks, servers, etc.) I used to apologize for her vile behavior. She’s no longer with us anymore but when I read her journal after she passed, I understood why she was the way she was. (More on that some other time.)

Anyway, this past year or so keeps iterating why I am eternally grateful to my parents for teaching me such an invaluable life lesson. They are the reason I live by these words:

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

Abide by that single sentence with personal and business relationships. You won’t be sorry.  #tuesdayZen

This post was inspired by this Facebook exchange.

15 thoughts on “A True Measure of a Man

  1. Inspiring. Thanks for that. It’s not like I didn’t know it already, but it is a really good reminder and a challenge to do better.

  2. So true! Also, it’s funny how as kids (teenagers, whatever) we don’t really realize what we’re experiencing till later on. You and your dad and his loud, ‘bad’ English and later on, to realize it’s not the words, but how they’re said. Inspiring!
    Cheers!

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