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No News Is Good News

Background: The first recorded use of this exact expression in English is by James Howell in 1640, who wrote, “I am of the Italians’ mind that said, ‘Nulla Nuova, Buona Nuova’ (no news, good news). Some years before that, James 1 of England (VI of Scotland) wrote, “No News is better than evil news.” In case you were wondering like me. Information compliments of bookbrouse.com

Do you know what else Good News is? Umm, plain ole Good News. There is plenty of it out there in the world, but it’s not a moneymaker, so it doesn’t get all the glitz like a good tragedy. Seems a tad backward, but here we are.

Today, I share not only a good news story but the far-reaching effects of a simple gesture of kindness. Many of you may have heard it, and if so, consider it a reminder; if not, enjoy.

I recently found out quite a bit about Sidney Poitier after his death. We both share the same zodiac sign, and shortly after I entered the world in 1964, Sidney won an Oscar. Looks like two Stars were born that year.

After reading about Mr. Poitier’s accomplishments throughout his long life and career, I found his constant strive to be viewed as dignified, with his strong sense of decency to be at the forefront. If only these were available on Amazon …

Now for the good part.

As everyone knows, Mr. Poitier was well known for his elegant speaking voice, but that was not always the case, being born in the Bahamas and arriving in the states with his heavy accent and illiteracy in tow. It’s hard to believe after listening to him for one second.

He told the story many times, but this excerpt is from a CBS interview in 2013.

“There was one of the waiters, a Jewish guy, elderly man, and he looked over at me and was looking at me for quite a while. I had a newspaper, it was called Journal American. And he walked over to me, and he said, ‘What’s new in the paper?’ And I looked up at this man. I said to him, ‘I can’t tell you what’s in the paper because I can’t read very well.’ He said, ‘Let me ask you something, would you like me to read with you?’ I said to him, ‘Yes if you like.’

As the story goes, they would sit together every night after their shifts. This kind man would teach him not only how to read but also the importance of punctuation, why it exists, followed by syllables, how to recognize them in words, and finally, pronunciation. I didn’t get that in my formal education.

This small act of kindness put Mr. Poitier onto a path that led to significant changes, on and off the silver screen. He was not only an actor. He was a published writer, director, and most of all, a social game-changer. Kudos to brave waiters and diner educations.

Although he regretted never getting the opportunity to thank this man in person, I’m going out on a limb to say he unknowingly thanked him every time he opened his mouth.

Be Kind. Share the good news, and Enjoy the Ride!

8 responses

  1. That’s a great story. People helping people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too have a special place for him, his performance in Lilies of the Field, very near my heart, how he charmed the nuns again, with an innate goodness that as you so well showed, had little to do with acting.

    Kindness resonates. They say when you hear a bell, it means an angel got his wings. Well, I think every time someone helps another, it releases peace into the world.

    Love how that man read to him. Brought tears to my eyes.

    A very beautiful essay this is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel the same way. That waiter is a true example of humanity at its best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa, this is a terrific story. When I saw him tell this to Leslie Stahl, she had tears in her eyes, to match mine. Keith

    Like

  5. This story increases my admiration of Mr. Poitier ten fold. He was so elegant and dignified and well spoken, one would think he grew up with a governess and tutor. The lovely man who took the time to educate him was responsible for many, many people trying to replicate Sidney Poitier’s eloquence. That is some legacy.

    Like

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