Yang became a widow when her son was only 4 years old. As a single mother from a remote village with almost no education, she raised her only child well and eventually sent him to a reputable university in a big city – a monumental achievement. Unfortunately, two years later, her beloved son, the pride of her life, was killed by a sleepy truck driver.
Never stepped outside of her village before, Yang took a 35-hour journey to reach her son’s city. The truck driver and the representatives from his shipping company came to see her, fully prepared for a legal battle. The university prepared a big team of lawyers to help her get the most financial compensation possible from the shipping company. But Yang wasn’t in a hurry to ask about what happened to her son or how much money she would receive. Instead, she requested to visit the truck driver’s home.
It is in a poor neighborhood. A small studio was occupied by a family of five. No proper furniture and no nutritional food. From speaking to the driver’s wife, Yang found out that he worked excessive hours in order to support his family, therefore, caused the accident. And he had been suffering from chronic insomnia. After coming out of the driver’s home, Yang requested her son’s classmate to show her his dorm room, classrooms, the campus, and the city – the way he would have done himself if he were alive.
Once received her son’s ash, she went to the shipping company alone without any lawyer. The lump-sum compensation money was prepared for her, including a contribution from the company and a portion from the driver. They prepared every reason imaginable to convince her why this was the maximum amount they could possibly give her.
Without any drama and in complete calmness, Yang made two requests to the company managers. First, please return the driver’s portion of the money to the driver. She said the traffic in the city is chaotic and any truck driver could make mistakes. Second, please give him this traditional herbal remedy for insomnia, which is highly effective. The rest of the money, she absolutely refused to take, because money couldn’t bring back her son’s life. The whole encounter lasted only 10 minutes. The company managers were dumbfounded. They didn’t know what to say.
Off she went, returning to her village with only her son’s ash.
Weeks later, the shipping company sent a team of people and two trucks loaded with food and other supplies and drove across the country to her small village. From considering her a potential threat to being touched by her actions, they wanted to make sure this aging mother was well taken care of.
Even though they knew she lived in an impoverished village, they had no idea how impoverished it was. Her house was supported by a few skinning poles, the roof leaks on rainy days. The whole structure looked like it was about to fall apart. The local school where her son studied was just a simple hut. Instead of keeping the food and supply to herself, Yang shared them with the entire village.
In the next 5 years, people from the shipping company and the university, as well as total strangers came to this remote village, giving money and volunteering their time to do whatever they could to help. Eventually, a new school and a new road were built. Communication with the outside world was established. The quality of life in the village improved significantly.
If we think that this is just a story of kindness and generosity, we would have overlooked the typical characteristics, the thinking and the behavioral patterns, of a true Teal leader. Is anyone interested in identifying a few Teal characteristics in the below comments? (Seriously, please do!)