Kindness matters

Being kind to others can reap benefits that may never have occurred to you

As I write this column, it's -19 F outside in Chicago and this winter's worst weather. Yes, I get asked: "Why do people live there?" It's a great question, but the answer, I guess, is that though we complain about the cold, we secretly love to brag about our toughness in enduring it! There is something special about that toughness, and I appreciate roofing workers who endure days on end of working in extreme cold or heat and do the best work in the world. I think about those people often.

In many ways, our nation was built by people like roofing workers. Men and women who build roads, the buildings we work and live in, bridges, airports, furniture ... you name it. Standing unseen are the millions who make our lives better in countless ways. What would our world be like without them? Do you ever stop to thank them? Perhaps more important, do you consider their value?

I think of truckers. Every day at your roofing company, delivery trucks drive in full and out empty with the materials you need to conduct your business. In many ways, the trucking industry mirrors the roofing industry—strong people doing thankless work in most cases. It mirrors us in another way, too. Talk to any trucking company owner, and you are likely to hear there simply are not enough drivers. I hear from you, too, that deliveries are taking longer and trucking companies have become more demanding and difficult to find. I recently spoke to a friend of mine who is an independent trucker. You know what he told me? He hates delivering to roofing companies, so he chooses not to do it. Yes, he has enough work that he can choose.

He told me with new regulations restricting the hours he works, he has no extra time in his day to spend waiting for his truck to be unloaded. He tires of trying to find a foreman who can help unload when he does job-site deliveries. He admits he appreciates the work but wishes people would recognize his frustrations, too. The conversation got me thinking: Maybe we need to consider his words and respond in a way that makes roofing companies or job sites THE place truckers want to deliver to.