A tale of good fortune and some rotten people

Many, many years ago, when I was a fresh-faced college graduate working my first real job in the world, a lovely thing happened … well, after a bit of a sad one, actually.

It was in 1997 when the broadcast radio and television station where I’d happily worked since 1990 sold its company. That’s the sad part because the owners were, and still are, some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know.

Love you, Williamson family.

The “silver lining” of the sale was the remarkable kindness the Williamsons showed their employees as they exited the industry. Every one of us received $1,000 for each year of full-time employment with the station. Those who worked part-time got $500 for each year of service.


Kerry and I were shocked at the magnanimous gesture … we couldn’t have been more grateful. But what came next absolutely floored us.

As word of the gracious act spread throughout the station, we heard many people as stunned and thankful as we were, obviously. Yet it only took about 20 minutes or so for it to begin. The haters hating, that is.

“Can you believe we have to pay taxes on this money?”

“They’re just doing this to get a tax write-off!”

“What if I worked for 11 months the first year; why can’t that one count?”

“I can’t believe part-timers are getting stiffed like this!”

Wait, what in the blazes?

I looked at Kerry and said, “Are people honestly complaining about this incredibly generous gift?” I wanted to cry at the absolute disrespect; the insolent audacity; the irony of how incredibly wrong it was to be so churlish. I mean, who in their right mind could literally be given free money — and criticize the people handing it to them? “How could anyone be so incredibly ignorant and thankless over such a kind-hearted action? I am absolutely amazed…”

Kerry was a little more profane in his description of those who were biting the hand that had fed them so well for so long … and who were now offering one last warm, hearty meal that was clearly being sent back to the kitchen by some. “They’re idiots,” he said … and a little worse, too.

But I couldn’t get over the lack of gratitude. I kept thinking: Who does this? Who looks at a gift and sees a penance? Who is so incredibly bitter about, and unappreciative for, the blessings in life they actually have the gall to disparage the giver?

Although I will NEVER forget that act of kindness by the Williamsons, I think I had actually repressed the ugly part of the tale for many years. I was recounting it to a friend recently only because it was jarred to the surface by recent episode of the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” These women behave so reprehensibly that it brought up that unpleasant recollection from two decades ago.

From their whining about the paltry number of attendants / gifts at their opulent birthday celebrations to their cavalier attitudes about marital infidelity to their shameful manipulation of each disingenuous “friendship — well, these spoiled, self-centered millionaires are pretty much the poster children for how not to behave.

One woman is so deceptive that she organized a hate debate about a gal she’d offered an olive branch to less than 24 hours before. This is the same woman who lied that her boyfriend had cancer a year ago, so people would give her sympathy and bring her covered dish dinners. #vickiisevil

I digress.

Forget about gray hairs, wrinkles, age spots or flabby arms … greed, nastiness and entitlement are what makes a person ugly, yo.

Shame on those who are presented with incredible good fortune and whine that it isn’t enough. Those of us who really know what’s important understand that a loyal friend is worth more than a billion dollars; that anyone can buy cosmetic beauty but plastic surgery doesn’t work on souls, capisce?

Look, a charitable donation isn’t so much about the size of the donation, but the love for the charity, you dig? And having an attitude of gratitude isn’t just the right thing; it’s the only thing that matters in the end.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who appreciates every good thing in her life. Read about them in her daily blog “One Grateful Girl” at www.patriciakimerer.com.