Seize the opportunity!

In my January 22 blog post titled “When was the last time . . .” I mentioned having worked for a lucrative feed and grain brokerage firm in southern California prior to going to Lomalinda, Colombia.

The very distinguished, tall Dutchman who owned the prosperous business was Herbert V. Nootbaar. After just two months at H. V. Nootbaar & Co. and continuing throughout my nearly three years of employment, it was very clear that Mr. Nootbaar was the most generous person I’d ever met. He made rounds to every work station and personally handed each employee an envelope with an extra paycheck while commending them for jobs well done. What incentive for employees to strive to do even better! In November, Mr. Nootbaar sent every employee home with a substantial turkey and all the fixings for a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. I was still living in Sierra Madre with my parents and maternal grandmother who were completely blown away by Mr. Nootbaar’s kindness. On employees’ birthdays, they were treated to lunch with other employees at a Pasadena restaurant of their own choosing—along with a gift certificate from Bullock’s Pasadena—a very upscale department store. And the list goes on and on.

Mr. Nootbaar retired and lived in a lavish home in Laguna Beach, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He had been married twice and lost both wonderful wives to illnesses. During the expanse of time since I had last seen Mr. Nootbaar, it had been on my mind to call him at the phone number listed online. Finally on August 1, 2016, I picked up my phone and entered his number. His caregiver answered and politely said Mr. Nootbaar was in the restroom and asked if I would please call back in 15 minutes. It took two more calls before Mr. Nootbaar was able to speak with me. He was 107 years young then—understandably, his memory was slightly cloudy. I briefly introduced myself, thanked him for offering me a job in 1972, and expressed my sincere gratitude for his many kindnesses—telling him he was the best employer I’d ever had. He apologized profusely for not remembering who I was, and then said, “Thank you for calling. I love you for telling me this.” His heartfelt words still warm my heart today. Four-and-a-half months later, he passed away after 108 trips around the sun!

Is there someone who needs your thanks?
Please don’t put it off.
I almost waited too long.
So grateful to have heard Mr. Nootbaar’s
cheerful voice one more time.

8 Replies to “Seize the opportunity!”

  1. Well said Leslie – we just never know how many breaths anybody has left. I love you and am happy to be related to such an amazing woman.

  2. I love this. Leslie!! Very heart-warming and a beautiful example of gratitude that means so much to all of us. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful writer you are❤

  3. Thank you for your beautiful reminder of how important it is to express our gratitude to those who have touched our lives. So…this is for you Leslie! So many times over the years I have been reminded of the part you played in my salvation and walk with my Lord. When I was far from God and seemingly not looking for Him, you were calling together fellow warriors on the mission field in prayer for your brother and myself. I still remember the joy and excitement you shared at hearing of our decision to follow Christ. I can’t tell you how many times I have thanked God for you over the years when I remember the faithfulness of so many I have never met that had a part in bringing me into the Kingdom. I want you to know how fondly I remember you before the Lord…even though our paths have rarely crossed in so many of those years. Thank you!

    1. Oh Dearest Dee ~ Thank you for sharing this with me this afternoon. Both you and my friend, Linda, brought tears to my eyes. What more could I say ~ “To God be the glory – Great things He has done!” So thankful for having you in my life!

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