Back when I was a kid in Mahopac, N.Y., I had a youth sports coach named Ed Schmidt.
I can’t remember whether this was baseball, basketball or soccer, but at the end of the season Mr. Schmidt (a warm, gregarious man) treated the entire team to a post-final game visit to Carvel.
We all lined up to order. One kid ordered a cone. Then another kid ordered a cone. Then another cone. And another cone.
When it was my turn, I ordered a vanilla shake.
Later that evening, my parents inquired about my ice cream experience.
“What type of cone did you get?” Dad asked.
“I had a milkshake,” I replied.
Mom and Dad both frowned—and I’ve never forgotten the stern-yet-not-mean lecture. “When someone is kind enough to take you out,” Dad said, “you don’t take advantage of that. Mr. Schmidt bought you ice cream with his own money. You shouldn’t have taken advantage.”
You never know what small lessons stick.
That one has.
[And I still love a good shake]