December 21st, 2010 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Warm & Fuzzy

Silent Angels - The True Spirit of Christmas

This post is comprised of an email that I received from my sister, Yvonne Armbruster, the other night. I was so moved by it, that I asked her if I could share it with you, my readers. I often tell her she should start her own blog as she is a great writer and has a very dry sense of humour (not at all reflected in this particular post by the way). I hope you enjoy and are enlightened by the story as I was...

"Well our Midland staff dinner was last night, it was at a very nice restaurant on the waterfront in Vancouver.

Midland staff

That's Robert 4th from the left in the back row.  Ken is third to the right of Robert. My sister Yvonne is on the far left of the front row.

I picked up Robert, who was anxiously waiting for me at the door when I arrived at his house. He was so happy I showed up - biggest smile ever (and when Robert smiles he lights up the room). I got a big hug and he held my hand as I walked him to my car.

We hired Robert a couple of months ago through an organization here in Vancouver. Robert is deaf, mute, has epilepsy and some learning disabilities. He signs, writes in Chinese and understands very little written English. He’s also missing fingers, which makes understanding his finger spelling interesting to say the least!

I took a weekend course in sign language years ago, but since hiring Robert I've dug out my old books and bought some new ones so I can communicate with him, or at least try. I made sure I brushed up on all the things I needed to know for the dinner last night - signs for meat, fish, chicken, drink, eat etc.

When I asked him what he wanted to drink, he signed back "beer" which caught me completely off-guard. I would have thought with all the medications he takes and his epilepsy, alcohol would have been a no-no. But I’m not his mom, so I ordered him a beer, lol. I sat next to him at the restaurant so I could translate the menu as he doesn’t read English very well.

Liberian Kids swarm the owner of Midland Liquidators, Ken McAllister, during one of his yearly visits to the war-torn country.When Ken [the owner] got up to make his speech I asked if I could say something first, so I took the floor and to Robert signed, "Robert, we are very happy you are here with us." And then I told the rest of the staff what I said and they all applauded for Robert. He was so happy to be included in our group!

I only wished I could have translated everything Ken said about our [mostly unpublicized corporate social responsibility] work and what we do at Midland...

This year we have put 700 children in Africa (Liberia) into school, children who otherwise would never have had a chance. We fed and supplied medication to 22 children, who would have died from sickness and severe malnutrition, and who are now doing well. And our happiest story is about a boy, who we rescued, fed and got well enough to send to school, who graduated grade 12 this year, and is now attending a college in Monrovia to study medicine in the hopes of becoming a doctor one day.

There are a lot of other stories - local ones as well. We don’t just help abroad, we also help our own here in the city [of Vancouver].

All the little things we do at Midland; all the attention to details and customer service; every sale makes a difference.

Robert is an example of that - at 46 years old he finally has a good job, one that his care worker has said has made a huge impact and difference in his life.

I am humbled to be a little part of good things happening in the world. Always try to remember - sometimes Christmas arrives in unassuming packages from far away places and sometimes it arrives in a silent language right on your doorstep."

Midland Liquidators has been in business for 25 years in Vancouver, BC, Canada - a small company making a BIG difference.

What "silent angels" have you encountered in your life? Please share your story with us below...

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Robin says:

oh my ... I'm not ashamed to say I am MORE than a little misty right now. You Armbruster sisters ... I am proud to know you.

Posted on December 23, 2010

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Thanks for your comment Robin and Merry Christmas! Miss you tons! xox

Posted on December 23, 2010