Sunday, July 19, 2009

and there he is

I think I may have written about "Charles" before, but he is such an amazing man he deserves another story.

Today, we went to our local home improvement store - the big, orange colored one. Jeff needed some sort of clamp, for some sort of part he is building, for some sort of something he is going to sell on EBay.

Really, that's all I know.

We went to the plumbing aisle, and were so relieved to see "Charles" there. Whenever we need to find a plumbing part, it is so much easier when Charles is on duty. None of the plumbing in our house is "standard", so anytime we need to replace something, we always have to come up with some concoction to make it work.

If you're not a plumber (and we're not), this can be an overwhelming and frustrating task.

Charles makes it easy (he should carry the easy button!). In fact, if he's not working, sometimes we just decide to come back another day.

It is not hard to spot Charles in the long, wide aisle filled with pipes, elbows, clamps, etc.

Charles is the man with the guide dog.

Charles is visually impaired, and he brings his guide dog, "Georgie", with him to work.

Georgie is a yellow lab. A sweet soul, who lays at Charles' feet while he chats with customers.

When we talked to Charles today, I gave Georgie a scratch on the head, a "good boy", and he promptly lay down, and did a perfect "cross your paws" all on his own.

Jeff whispered, "Look, he's crossing his paws!"

I know you aren't supposed to pet guide dogs when they are working, but Charles doesn't seem to mind, and Georgie doesn't either.

"What are you looking for?" Charles asks.

Jeff tells him.

"Oh, you won't find that size here," Charles says.


Jeff pulls something off the shelf that he thinks might work, but says it too is the wrong size.

Charles says, "Let me see it."

Jeff put the clamp in Charles' hand.

"It's 1 and 7/8th's," Charles says.

"But the label says 2 inches," Jeff rebuts.

"I don't care what the label says, it's 1 and 7/8ths," Charles argues, pulls out his tape measure and hands it to Jeff.

Jeff measures it, and of course, Charles was right.

As usual.

Charles knows where every item in that aisle is located, and can tell what each item is, including the size, just by the feel. It is truly amazing, and until you witness it you can't fully appreciate it.

Plus, Charles gives great advice, as he has a wealth of knowledge about plumbing.

Charles is a rare kind of soul. He's the type person you would like to sit and have a long talk with about all sorts of topics, not just plumbing. There's no doubt in my mind that he would give a perfect stranger the shirt off his back, or the last dollar in his pocket. That is the spirit he exudes.

Today, he told us that Georgie is going into retirement. He has reached the golden age of ten. A new guide dog will be coming to take his place.

Charles told us, "Georgie is really owned by the feds you know. So, he's kind of your dog. You paid for him."

Oh no. I thought, what is going to happen to Georgie now?

Jeff was brave enough to ask.

"We are going to adopt Georgie, and my wife will be taking him to local hospitals to do therapy work," Charles explained.

I wanted to cry with joy. Georgie gets to stay in his home, and do a new line of work in retirement. Kind of like Charles, who confessed today, he spent years working as an engineer. He just does this job for some extra money, and to get out and about.

Charles and Georgie. Two kind souls, reaching out to people, doing good deeds.

We were ready to leave. I gave Georgie what may be my last pat on the head, shook Charles' hand, and wished him good luck with his new guide dog.

Charles said, "You know, every morning I wake up, and there Georgie is."

What more could you really ask for in a dog?


Diana said...

What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. People are amazing. Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Awesome story!

Dawn said...

What a wonderful story. You wanted to cry with joy, I AM crying! I'm so glad he can keep Georgie, and that Georgie will still have meaningful work. I do wonder what Georgie will think when the new dog gets to go to work with Charles though. Great story, great people. Isn't it wonderful when you get to meet people like this?

Ally Lifewithally said...

What a lovely story ~ I am so glad Georgie is staying in his old home ~ I could not imagine that Charles would let him go anywhere else ~ Ally x

Bob said...

Hi Sara, Charles sounds like a good old boy to me. Reading what you said about Georgie reminded me of a previous post of yours where dogs are supposed to be similar to a two year old, I can't remember the exact wording but I'm sure you remember it. Anyway I got to thinking, would you put your trust in a two year old or a dog to guide you through life if your eyes weren't so good?

Sara said...

Ah, so true Bob, of course we would all choose a dog.

the hip dad said...

I am glad you finally wrote about this amazing man and his dog. I remember the first time you told me about him before you were doing your blog. I think I mentioned to you once that you should write about him. glad you went back to home depot.

Sara said...

I remember you telling me I should write about him, and I thought I did. I have the story in my head!

I couldn't find the post though, so I guess the story only lived in my head. Glad I finally got something written down.

Maybe after the TU article about him came out, I figured there was no point in me writing something.

Ludo van Doggy said...

What a great guy, and a wonderful relationship. So nice to hear a nice story about good customer service too!

Marybeth said...

I think he is part of one of your Jeff-motorcycle-build stories

Sara said...

He did help Jeff come up with a plug for the gas tank on Jeff's first chopper build. That was the first time we met him.

I'll have to look thru my
"Life with Jeff" posts and see if I can find mention of him there.