“We don’t just do what’s easy; we do what’s right.”
Every day we are tested privately and publicly with this core value. It’s easy to say the core value and tell everyone the stories about how we did the right thing, but seldom do we share stories with others where we take the easy way out and do the wrong thing.
Did you ever have a homeless person ask you for money and say no to them because your opinion of what they would do with the money made you change your mind? Does that matter, especially if you can afford a few bucks?
Have you ever committed to something like attending a party or helping a friend move into a new home only to tell them that day that you were sick or something else came up even though it did not?
Did you ever copy someone else’s homework or turn in a paper at school or work and take credit for it yourself, even though it wasn’t yours?
All 3 of these examples are things that the world may never know because they happened privately. Sometimes we are the only person that knows, and that feeling of not doing the right thing, even though private is still a memory that we carry with us every day and one that sometimes we can’t even fix later even if we wanted to, and it eats away at us.
Today I wanted to share a great story of doing the right thing publicly, not too long ago. This incident made news worldwide, and the reason most likely is because most of us struggle with what we would do in the same situation and people wanted to witness it.
A triathlon was held in Spain about a month ago. There are thousands and thousands of Triathlons each year and seldom do we hear about any of them. This one is different because it was the site of a public display of doing the right thing, and this story has millions of views across so many other platforms because of it.
A triathlon is a long and grueling race where athletes complete three separate challenges. Usually, they consist of about a 1-mile swim, followed by a 25-mile bike race and then a 6-mile run to finish the race. It is a true test of endurance, and athletes train very hard to compete in these races.
On this particular day, there was a Spanish athlete named Diego Mentriga racing. All-day long, there was a British athlete that was ahead of him the whole time. That athlete’s name was James Teagle. The swim, the biking, and even during the run, James was always ahead. Diego wanted to pass him the entire time but was just not able to. James was running a great race and was in third place the whole way. This was important because if Diego could somehow pass James, then Diego would win a bronze medal. If he stayed in 4th place, he would win nothing.
As the men came closer to the finish line, it was very evident to Diego and everyone that James would win 3rd place. Then something happened that was unfortunate and amazing all in 1 minute.
As James approached the finish line, clearly in 3rd place, he took a wrong turn. He ran a fantastic race all day, and the final mistake had just cost him a bronze medal. Diego, on the other hand, was given an opportunity to now finally pass James and claim his bronze medal that he so desperately had tried to win that day.
Moments after the major mistake by James, he was passed by Diego. There were only about 100 meters to the finish line, and Diego must have felt so good knowing that he would win a medal; I am sure many of us would not have done what Diego did next. Diego only had a few seconds to think before he crossed the finish line but what happened next was one of the best displays of doing the right thing there could ever be.
Diego remembered what his parents and coaches had always taught him about sportsmanship and doing the right thing. As Diego approached the finish line, he decided he would do the right thing.
Diego stopped running and waiting just before the finish line and allowed James to pass him again and claim the Bronze medal. It was the ultimate display of sportsmanship and kindness, and James shook his hand and thanked him for the moment.
What would you have done if you were Diego? Would you have decided in those few seconds to do the right thing? I don’t think anyone would have said much if Diego would have continued running and took third place, but instead, he did the right thing, and this particular triathlon became one of the most talked-about triathlons ever.
When asked after the race why he did what he did, Diego said that James was ahead of him all day, and James deserved to beat him. Diego also stated that he had always been taught to do the right thing.
Diego’s story and the three examples I gave, in the beginning, teach us something, and I hope that we can remember this as we continue to live together on this planet. If we can practice doing the right thing in private, even when nobody is watching, then we will always be prepared to do the right thing in public when everyone is watching.
The race officials were so moved by Diego’s actions, and even though they could not award him the bronze medal, they decided to give him the 3rd place prize money that James had won as well, so both men received 250 British Pounds for 3rd place.
Diego may never win a race for the rest of his life, but we will always remember him as a winner, and it’s because he didn’t do what was easy; he did what was right. I have added the viral video clip here for those of you that want to see the end of the race:
Can you imagine if every time you watched the news, they had stories like this? I think the world would be a happier place. YOU can create your news every day by only doing the right thing; we can change the world together one smile at a time.
It was not easy for you to read this email, but hopefully, you found that it was the right thing to do. I am grateful for our friendship and thank you for being the miracle you are. Have a great week!