Dr. Vis Blog 7 – Thanksgiving and Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is easily the most beautiful festival observed in North America. What a noble thought to thank each other, practice acts of kindness and to thank people who support us. Social psychologists and even spiritualists say that kindness and gratitude bestow greater flow of good things. Enough has been written on this topic. I will only narrate a personal story.

Twenty five years ago, I visited Limassol to attend the biannual Cyprus Shipping conference. As I was walking up to the registration counter along with my friend and agent, Marc, I observed a Japanese gentleman who appeared to be in some distress. I approached him and asked him if I could help. He informed me that he had been allotted a hotel which was not very clean. The organizers of the conference had told him due to the number of attendees that they cannot get him anything better. I requested Marc to help and we approached the Conference management group and we explained to them in detail and requested a different hotel to be assigned to this gentleman. 

Thanks to Marc’s influence, a new hotel was assigned, and we carried this information to the Japanese gentleman, who was very grateful. On the next day when we were driving somewhere, I noticed the new hotel and remembered it was the new hotel that was assigned to the Japanese gentleman. I suggested to Marc that we could call on him and check if he was happy in the new hotel. We went up to his room and there was no response. We dropped off our business cards under the door and got back to our car. As we were about to leave, there was a loud shouting, and the Japanese gentleman came running. He once again profusely thanked us and told us that he thoroughly enjoyed the new hotel and room. 

He then asked  us “Can I do anything for you in Japan?”. The thought had never crossed my mind. When I helped him there was no quid pro quo in the deal. I did not even know who he was, where he worked and what his position was. The Japanese gentleman produced a visiting card which read “Yoshio Fukunaga, Managing Director of a very reputed Shipping Company in Tokyo Japan”. Both of us realized only then that we had helped a high profile person. I repeated that I needed no return favor for the help. He kept insisting and suddenly it occurred to me that I did not have an agent for Viswa Lab in Japan. I asked him if he could find me an agent. Fukunaga San promised that he will get back to me and with multiple bows from both sides, we parted.

After a couple of months, I got a message from Fukunaga San requesting me to come to his Tokyo office for a surprise. I did not have the faintest idea what this was going to be. It so happened that I was going from USA to Asia and I rerouted my travel via Tokyo. At 3 pm on the day he mentioned, I showed up at his office. I was respectfully taken to a conference room and as the door opened there were over 50 staff members of Iino Shipping who stood up, clapped and welcomed me. Fukunaga San proudly announced that Iino Shipping would be the Agent for Viswa Lab from that day onwards. This function represented the inaugural day for the agency.

To cut a long story short, this agency association with Fukunaga San gave an incredible opportunity for Viswa Lab to serve and test fuels from about 700 ships in Japan. This was a huge, unexpected bonanza from a country, where I had not even dreamed of getting too many samples to test. Our association continues after 25 years. The goodwill, the trust and the sense of gratitude still remains the same. 

Yes, I can personally confirm that random acts of kindness when returned with gratitude benefits both parties. It is just the way that things happen. Perhaps North America as a region has grown so much and so prosperous because of the spirit of kindness and gratitude embodied by Thanksgiving. 

Thank you for your enduring relationship with us. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to you.

Kind regards

Dr. Vis

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