Publisher’s Comment: The Spirit of Giving Alive and Well During Visit to Cuba

by Robbie Wilkins

You often hear that we don’t know how lucky we are.

My parents made sure I was aware of it, regularly alluding to the fact that if I didn’t eat my dinner, they’d send it to kids less fortunate half-a-world away.

My usual smart-ass comeback was “Go ahead, send it,” which of course would usually warrant a good cuff from dad at the end of the table.

Last month, myself and three friends had the opportunity to discover just how true this statement was.

We were off on a week’s holiday to Cuba.

I’ve always heard it was a beautiful country with white sandy beaches, aqua water and a culture that was vastly different than ours.

I was going to be a first timer so before we left, I did a little homework on the fine art of being a tourist.

I was told to load up on toiletries.

Things like toothpaste and brushes, Tylenol, Band-Aids and medications for the eyes, ears or throat.

These everyday items would be greatly appreciated by the service staff.

Tipping was supposed to be included in our package but in a society where the average worker earns just $40.00 a month, you’d be amazed how far a dollar tip goes.

My friend gave his maid a $10 tip and had to catch her before she did a face plant.

The real lesson came from another tourist.

During the week, she had gotten to know a worker who was in charge of jockeying cars around the hotel parking lot.

His English was broken, but she was able to pick up information about life with his family, village, and his work at the local parish.

The day before she left, she had him hail a cab (no doubt in search of that perfect souvenir for someone special back home) and off she went.

A few hours later, she returned to the hotel.

The cab’s open trunk contained a box originally meant for a large TV.

As her new friend lifted the box out of the cab and began walking it back to the lobby, she stopped and instructed him to open it.

Inside, he found it full of children’s toys.

He was puzzled until she explained that the toys weren’t for her own children, but for the less fortunate children who lived in his village.

With that, a river of tears ran down his face.

Unfortunately, stories like this sometimes seem to be few and far between.

God bless this lady for her kindness.

Happy Holidays!

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.

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