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No Need to Say Thanks

He wasn’t sure how to repay his friend for his kind gesture, but it turns out he didn’t need to after all. 

A football resting on green grass under a bright blue sky
Credit: David Lee

I was worried about my upcoming eye surgery and also about how to thank my friend and neighbor Dick for driving me. The Cleveland Clinic was 90 miles away from our home in Lexington, Ohio. I couldn’t make the drive home with a bandaged eye, and my wife, Peggy, wasn’t used to driving in big-city traffic. “What about Dick?” Peggy had suggested. “He’s always driving everywhere to football games.”

That was true—Dick was a huge football fan, driving hours just to see his favorite teams. He knew everything about the up-and-coming college stars. When the NFL Draft arrived, he loved finding out the college players signed by our beloved Cleveland Browns.

Dick agreed to help us out, of course. Now, as I waited for my surgery, I racked my brain, trying to think of a way to say thanks. He’d dragged himself out of bed at sunrise only to sit in the hospital waiting room all day. Not even a Sports Illustrated on the magazine table. Dick sighed.

“I’m going to take a walk around,” he said, getting up from his chair. Now I felt really uneasy.

“We’ll get him a gift certificate or something later,” Peggy said when I told her my concern. But that didn’t seem right. What can I do? I prayed. A half hour passed with no sign of Dick. “I wonder if he got lost in this place,” I said.

Just then, Dick strode down the hall, a huge smile on his face. “I want to thank you,” he said.

Thank me? I wondered. “For what?”

“You won’t believe who I met in the elevator,” he said. “Brady Quinn, last year’s quarterback for Notre Dame. He’s here getting his team physical. He was just drafted by the Browns in the first round. I shook his hand and welcomed him to Cleveland!”

My surgery went without a hitch. And I no longer worried about how to thank Dick. He couldn’t stop talking about meeting Brady Quinn for days afterward.

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