Goodness is the only investment that never fails. (Henry David Thoreau)
Several years ago when my oldest son, Nick, was in the 6th grade, he found himself playing the low post on a basketball court on Indy’s west side. Despite his significant height disadvantage, Nick Fred was fighting the good fight… until he took an elbow to the mouth while hustling for a rebound and he found himself missing half of his front tooth and with some very sensitive nerve endings dangling. Even the act of breathing seemed incredibly painful. I scooped up the broken piece of tooth his teammate had collected from underneath the basket and tossed it in Nick’s water bottle. I didn’t know what else to do but to try and reach our friend and neighbor, Dr. Chad Bailey. “I’m at the store with Ally, but I’ll meet you at my office as soon as I can get there.”
Despite the fact that it was a Saturday morning, Chad, who is an excellent dentist, very kindly and compassionately put in what we thought would be a quick temporary fix. His daughter was very into the copy machine and the two of us spent about an hour making photo copies of dollar bills, as I recall, while her dad played hero in the next room with Nick and his tooth. I chose not to worry Chad too much about his girl’s fascination with “counterfeiting” (ha?) as I was just so thankful for his thoughtfulness!!
Remarkably, that tooth he glued back together on a random Saturday morning lasted for like 6 years! When it finally gave way, it happened of course at like 11pm when Chad was on the ice playing hockey with friends. Yes, our talented dentist friend saved my kid that time too, at about midnight as I recall. Nick was so grateful that he tweeted about the awesomeness of his dentist– that’s not something you see often coming from the twitter account of a high school kid! Chad is one of the good guys.
It’s not just Nick that he has used his talents to go above and beyond for, either. I called him once looking for help when a priest friend of mine from Africa told me that his mother was flying to the US to visit him and that she was in significant pain. She had never in her life seen a real dentist, he finally confessed, quite embarrassed, and he didn’t know that he could even afford to help her much if he could even convince her to go see a dentist. She was notably frightened. When I called Chad to explain the situation, his humanity and graciousness were just way beyond thoughtful. His selflessness and the courtesy he showed to her was way above and beyond the call of duty. When several weeks later she visited me at home and flashed her new, gorgeous smile, I wondered if Chad had any idea what goodness he had bestowed on this total stranger. I do know the woman definitely had no access to a dentist like Chad Bailey back home in Ghana!!
We are still neighbors with the Bailey family. Chad and his beautiful wife, Angie, have two daughters (Ally and Logan, pictured above with their Dad). Those are three very blessed ladies to have such a kind-hearted man in their lives. He likes to laugh a little, gamble a touch, and he plays plenty of golf. I often see him with a drink in his hand and a smile on his face. Today, I saw him in his office at my regular visit to the dentist, which was absolutely routine…but it reminded me about his integrity and flat out goodness. Dr. Chad, you’re a good egg, and I’m way overdue to say so properly. Today, I hope you’ll accept my thanks for the integrity-filled way you have taken care of my clan and countless others over the years! We are grateful for you and the example you share with the world about how to treat others with goodness. What you do everyday? It matters.