Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask how he was doing, he would reply, “If I was any better, I would be twins!”

He was a  unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the  waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. if an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one  day I went up to Jerry and asked him, ” I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning  I wake up and say to myself, ‘ Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life  is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a  good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant business to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business :he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying  to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quick and rushed to the local trauma center,

After  18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital; with fragments of the bullet in his body.

When I visited him in the hospital, I told him how amazed and happy I was  that he pulled through like he did. All he said was when he was on the operating table and the Doctors told him the seriousness of his injury, and were  about to remove the bullets, he told me that ” all I could think of at that moment was  I had a choice. I could either live or die. I chose at that moment to live.”

–By Francie  Baltazar-Schwartz


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