Father-to-Son Kindness Karma

“One good turn deserves another” may be a cliche, but it’s an accurate way to describe the karma of kindness. As Fulton J. Sheen noted:

Life is like a cash register in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.

It is not ours to know when and how a debt will be repaid. Or that it’s even recorded in the ledger of life. As Buddy Shear of Cullman, Alabama, found out, it can take a generation to pay it forward. Buddy’s story appeared in the September 2013 issue of Guideposts.

He wanted to make his son’s wedding perfect, just as his father had made his.

what-goes-around-comes-around-signFather of the groom didn’t quite have the same ring as mother of the bride, but I took my duties seriously. My oldest son, Josh, was getting married, and I wanted to do everything I could to make his wedding day the greatest, most perfect day of his life. Like my father did for my wedding.

Dad died years earlier and I still missed him. Maybe never more than I did now.

I stood outside the door of a shop I’d never been to and gave the shoes I was carrying another despairing glance. The shoes that went with my son’s tuxedo. That I had promised I’d take care of.

Josh and his bride-to-be, Tara, were about the same height. She planned to wear heels and Josh had confided to my wife, Debbie, and me that he didn’t want her to tower over him at the altar. Debbie had suggested putting stacked heels on his shoes.

I’d dropped the shoes off at the repair shop we usually used. I’d picked them up this morning and the heels were stacked, all right… into huge blocky platforms. They looked like Frankenstein shoes! And it was all my fault. I should have explained more carefully what needed to be done.

It was too late to order a new pair. What do I do now?, I wondered.

I needed my dad, his ability to solve a problem, his calming voice. The one he had used on my own wedding day, some 33 years prior. Dad had seen not just my joy but my nerves. “Come here, son,” he had said, enveloping me in his arms. “You’re going to make a great husband. I love you.” My worries floated away.

Dad didn’t just look after his family. He sold insurance back in the days when you went door to door collecting weekly premiums and really got to know your customers. He believed providing insurance meant helping folks protect what they valued. Helping them, period. He practically invented “pay it forward.”

I’ll never forget the time he coached my Little League team and one boy showed up at practice wearing ragged sneakers. I overheard Dad ask quietly, “What size shoe do you wear, son?” At our next practice, the boy was wearing brand-new cleats. I never said a word to Dad but I was so proud to be his son.

Dad’s not here anymore, I told myself. It’s up to me. I found another shoe-repair shop in the Yellow Pages and drove there. Lord, let me come through for Josh the way Dad always did for me, I prayed, and walked in the door, Frankenstein shoes in hand.

The place was small and cluttered and looked like it had been there forever. A man my age stood at the counter. He wore a smudged smock and a gentle smile. “What can I do for you?” he asked.

I set the shoes on the counter and explained the problem. “All I want is to remove these platforms and get these shoes looking good enough so my son can wear them at his wedding,” I said. “I don’t care how much it costs. Can you help me?”

“I’ll do my best,” he said. He had me write my name and number on a ticket. “Come back tomorrow,” he told me.

I went back the next day. Josh’s shoes were ready. “They look as good as new!” I exclaimed, reaching for my wallet. “How much do I owe you?” The man shook his head. “There’s no charge.”

“What do you mean?”

He said, “You’re Buck Shear’s son, aren’t you?” He must have recognized the name on the ticket.

“Did you know my dad?” I asked.

“Not personally,” he said. “But my family will never forget him. My parents and grandparents bought insurance from your dad. Sometimes when they didn’t have the money, your dad would pay the weekly premiums for them.

“They were able to pay for my grandpa’s funeral because of your dad’s generosity. This is a small way I can say thanks.”

I left the store giving thanks of my own. To God, for letting Dad come through for me once again and reminding me how blessed I was to have the father I did. My son’s wedding day would be even more wonderful than I’d expected.

Click here to view all the Guideposts stories on this blog.

Click here to view all my posts on the transcendent power of kindness.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

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Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!


Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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