A Short Story…

by Anthony Morganti

A Short Story…

Like many, when a new year rolls along I tend to get reflective. Most of the time I look back with fondness of past things that were enjoyable and realize how appreciative I am to be where I am now. Sometimes my reflective thoughts are superficial but others are quite deep. This post has nothing to do with photography – I just would like to talk about one of the deeper reflective thoughts I often think of. It may be a boring story, I don’t know, but to me it’s quite important, even life changing. Allow me to share…

Almost forty years ago, I had an interaction with a person that changed my life forever. Now, don’t misunderstand, it wasn’t a cataclysmic, clouds opening to heaven type of revelation. Not at all. It was a simple, subtle and unassuming type of encounter but it changed me forever and made me, to a large part, who I am today.

When I was eighteen I worked at a local supermarket and moonlighted as a photographer’s assistant. On top of that, I was going to college full time and dating quite a bit so I guess I was a pretty normal eighteen-year-old. One of the many jobs I had at the supermarket was one of a Receiver. The receiver came in at six in the morning, unlocked the back door and received various goods from the many vendors that sold to the store. Wonder Bread, Pepsi, Coke, Lay’s Potato Chips to name a few. Anyway, one Saturday morning I was late. The day before I worked as a stock clerk and that same evening I was the second shooter at a wedding after which I still found time, and thought it was wise, to meet my friends for a nightcap at a local night club. I rolled into work about a half hour late and was promptly chewed out by one of the assistant managers. I proceeded to open the back door and immediately was showered with derision from the various drivers that were waiting for me to arrive.

Delivery people in general are always in a hurry. They want to get in and out as quickly as possible and on to their next customer. I was late and now I was making them late. They weren’t happy. Even on the days when I wasn’t late, they would tend to give me a hard time anyway. Most of them were men over thirty and I was this eighteen-year-old, pimply faced kid that had to count what they brought in to make sure they weren’t trying to rip off the company I worked for. To them, I never would count fast enough or sign their paperwork quick enough. I was an impediment to them getting their job done.

On this fine morning, I wasn’t going to take any of their crap. I told them to lineup and shut up and proceeded to count the bags of chips laid out before me in the most careful, deliberate manner possible while the Pepsi guy fumed and the donut dude mumbled.

I got through the initial morning rush without incident and finally had a lull in activity which allowed me to chart and file all the paperwork required for those deliveries. Whilst doing so, I heard a vehicle backup to the loading dock and within a minute or two, a diminutive man, Italian in heritage and very near retirement came in telling me that he was from maintenance and he was bringing some material in for a remodel that would be happening soon.

“Go right ahead”, I said

He looked at me in a bit of an odd way, kind of shrugged, proceed to his truck then returned with a 4’x8’ particle board panel he was sliding across the cement floor. I pointed to an area against the wall where he could place it. He slid it over and went back to his truck only to return with another, then another, then another.

I’m a bit curious of how much of this stuff he’s bringing in so I peek over and see he has at least thirty sheets left on his truck.

Now, I usually would help the drivers whenever possible but on this specific morning, I would have none of that. I still stung by the chew-out I received from my boss and I was certain I mumbled something like, “This job isn’t worth $3.15 an hour”, so I chose instead to stand there and do my best to ignore this sixty-odd something year-old man, drag sheet after sheet into the storeroom while I tried my best to look busy doing paperwork.

When he finally finished, he brought his paperwork over to me to sign, he was breathing a bit heavy and he said,

“You know, I’ve worked for this company for 38 years. I’m going to retire in September.”

“That’s great, congratulations.” I said.

“That’s not the point of my story,” he said “I’ve worked for this company for 38 years and I’ve seen many come and go and many more who have worked with me for years and you know what? Those that came in and knew everything before they even had begun, and never offered to help any of their coworkers, they were the ones that never lasted. They weren’t fired either, at least not most of them. They usually quit because they were never happy and nothing could make them happy, but the guys that were helpful and friendly and willing to lend a hand, I still work with them today and they’re amongst my dearest friends.”

I’m not sure what my face was showing. I knew he was, in the most subtle, friendly way possible ripping me a new butthole. A well-deserved one I might add but I think I just kind of stood there looking at him. He chose to pause a second or two to let what he said sink into my cranium then he picked up his paperwork and gently patted me on the shoulder and said, “Take care young man” as he turned to leave.

Now I wish I could say that I changed overnight but the truth is, I didn’t, but what he said to me always has stayed with me and drifts from my subconscious to my conscious quite often and always when I’m in a reflective mood.

Eventually, I did begin to help anyone that needed my help. It might be as simple as the elderly lady that was confused at the ATM, or the guy that is down on his luck outside of the coffee shop asking me if I could spare some change and finally, in my own feeble way, helping people with their photography.

Once I changed my attitude to one of a giver (If I may call myself that), there are three things that became apparent to me and I’d like to share them with you. Two are good and one is bad.

First the good…

Once you get in the flow of helping people every day, no matter how small the action, your entire attitude changes. You’ll find that you care about all people no matter where they’re from, what they do or how they look. You’re just there to help, human to human. Nothing more, nothing less.

The other good thing is that you notice and appreciate beauty but more importantly, you’ll see the beauty in the mundane… the beauty most people miss because they’re too busy living inside of their head. You’re now living in the world and see it, feel it and experience it, in every way, on a much more personal level.

I believe that fact alone has made me a better photographer but more importantly, I hope those two things, make me a better person.

Now, I mentioned that there is one bad thing that comes from all of this. Allow me to explain.

You might think once you show you care, and you help people, suddenly all around you will be super nice to you and treat you with some type of new found respect. Unfortunately, that will not happen.

Many will still treat you like crap, they’ll talk behind your back or be envious of the car you drive, the success you achieve or even the pompadour of your hair. No matter your best effort, some will still be disappointed in you or unhappy with you.

But you know what?

It won’t bother you as much when people treat you that way because deep down, you know you’re trying to make a difference.

You’re trying your best to make a difference.

It’s too bad the negative people cannot say the same about themselves because if they too did their best to help others, we’d all be living in a better world.

I can honestly say that I am who I am because of what that diminutive man said to me almost forty years ago and I try every single day to be the man I want to be. I’m not there yet but I’m trying.

Thank you for listening and may you all have a great 2017 and beyond!


23 comments to A Short Story…

  • Jack Cotlar MD  says:

    Your story mirrors the theme of a very good book, Give and Take by Adam Grant. It is a business book that ” … examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom.” A review can be found at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/give-and-take/id583275747?mt=11

    Thanks for the great service you provide to us.

  • Frank Calella  says:

    Mr. Morganti, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. In watching and learning from your Lightroom shared encyclopedia of knowledge, I could tell you were a good person. In your responses to questions and emails, I could tell you were a good person. May you and your family have a happy, prosperous and blessed 2017. Frank

  • Robert Angel  says:

    Thanks for taking the time to describe your life-lesson experience. A great piece. Giving is the only path to genuine happiness and contentment. It’s hard to keep that in mind, or at least it’s often been hard for me over the years. But it certainly is true. It’s good to remind ourselves of that ageless truth from time to time. Also, thanks for all of your tutorials. They’re terrific. With wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year,

  • Mary Hulett  says:

    Love your story, Tony. Also your philosophical thoughts. It is good to be reminded of this from time to time. Now I will remember your story and be inspired. THANK YOU for helping photographers grow and learn. You are a treasure!

  • Richard Wise  says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!. I was lucky to have mentors during my life that taught me a lot of great lessons One of the best was to treat everyone you meet on the way up as a friend because you will meet them again on the way down..

  • Linda Erhart  says:

    Thanks for sharing…..those are words we all need to hear now and again…..

  • jbr2013  says:

    Tony, I am sure many of your readers can relate to your story. I agree that once you become a “giver” your life changes in many ways. It certainly resonated with me! BTW – I doubt anyone would envy my pompadour since my hair style is much like that of Dr. Phil’s!

  • Bruce freebairn  says:

    Thanks for sharing and your giving to me with your videos. when i got out of Vietnam we were less than welcomed home. So when we meet fellow soldiers coming back we would say simply Welcome Home. Thanks again and Welcome Home.

  • Doug Freese  says:

    Game, set, match! The entire world, especially today with all its divisiveness, could use a dose of introspection.

  • Gary Hunt  says:

    Well said Anthony. Just goes to show you we are never too young or too old to learn new things. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great 2017

  • Bob Fenske  says:

    And YOU, Anthony have profoundly altered MY view of the world in which I try and capture my images. YOU, have challenged me to simply do better. I truly hope YOU realize the incredible impact you have had on the hundreds if not thousands of people who benefit from YOUR help, generosity, wisdom and clear thinking. I wish I were more eloquent to describe the countless ways you have helped me enjoy the passion of my photography. Simply…..thank you!

    From The Rock

  • George  says:

    Good one! And thanks for the way you have helped me with your tutorials….

  • H. Heath  says:

    Lesson well told. I have had more than one such life- and attitude-changing experience. “From little acorns great oaks grow.”

  • jane  says:

    I’ve become a better photographer because of you, and now am a better person too.

  • kiwiwolf  says:

    Your story reminds me of my old school Headmaster in UK. Like you he comes to mind now and again, his constant reminder was that what ever you do in the rest of your life it will have an effect on other people. An act of kindness or help will make someone happy. If you are unhelpful and mean others will be the same. Just stop for a second and consider how what you do today will effect those around you. “Thought for other people” was his constant message.

  • Marty  says:

    A great story. I have come across both young and old that should heed your story’s message; and myself at some stages of my life as well! :0) Happy 2017 to you as well!

  • Raymond Rusconi  says:

    I have become better at Photoshop thanks to you. Your story reminds me of what my grandfather taught me at an early age to help others as he was doing every day. Thank you again.
    P.S. His name was Herman Morganti. He was a immigrant from Switzerland.

  • Helen Phillips  says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring story. Thanks so much for sharing. Reminds me of the book The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John Mann. I’ve benefitted so much by all you’ve shared about photography and want to thank you for being the giving person you are.

  • Ruth Sano  says:

    Thanks Anthony for some the words of wisdom as we start a new year. Thanks also for inspiring me through your teachings. Wishing you a wonderful 2017!

  • Woody  says:

    wonderful words to live by. thank you for sharing,maybe if we all felt that way the world would be better.Happy New Year to you and family.

  • Peter John Bull  says:

    I agree to all the replies afore said.If you were British,I would recommend you for a knighthood.You are an exceptional,Teacher of life and photography.Thank you.

  • Steph Boeker  says:

    Mr. Morganti,
    I guess everyone w/ traits like character and/or integrity has a story of a similar vein. I believe those people are very lucky. Not because they had the wherewithal to acknowledge and incorporate, for even the stubbornly repulsive have that ability, …… , choosing to oppose such growth. No, it is a virtuous proposition, maybe from a higher than human good, that has been proposed, and the recipient is lucky, a.) because he was chosen …….. & b.) because of his response

    (which, as you said, becomes a “flow”. It gets easier and results in expanding your knowledge of the world by appreciation & awareness ! You actually notice and focus on the good and not the mundane qualities in people, places & things, which in turn, shines bright and flows into those whom come into close contact, ………. , all of which, allows you to become the instrument that was that old delivery man and forming the next link in the chain, if you will, …….. , pulling humanity out of the depths of darkness)

    Mr. Morganti, people like you, that ol’ delivery man and others like y’all, inspire people like me ! This, to me, is the crux of the mission. Weather you are successful at teaching me the task or weather I am able to understand your lessons is irrelevant. It is the attempt, the enduring attempt to inspire that is of value !!! Now, I want to be the next chain link, the instrument used to inspire.

    I thank, ….. you, ….. now, and those like you, every day, for your generous consideration,
    signed, “also feeling lucky”,

  • Jordan Tuller  says:

    Amen…. Keep up the good things you do.

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