Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Importance of Paying Your Debt and Keeping Your Word.

Jack and his great great grandfather Ralph Flores

By Randy De La O

This is a photo of Ralph Flores, a friend of my wife and I for thirty plus years. He owned the house next door to us on Newlin Ave. He owned several homes and apartments. My wife worked for him a while cleaning some rentals. In time he became our friend, and a good one.
We moved across the street into another house when the landlord sold the house without any warning. We lived in that house for five years until that lanlord did the same thing and once again we found ourselves looking for another house.
Somehow or another Ralph found out and offered the house he was living in and he would move into one of his other houses. Like I said, he was a good man.
So our good friend Ralph was now our landlord. He again proved his friendship because in those days I think I was late with every other rental payment. He would roll his eyes and scold my wife and I. Not like an angry landlord but more like a father trying to get his kids to get their acts together. He gave me every break I ever asked for.
The time came when I gave him notice. We were buying a house and it was time to move. We left that house in February of 1998. On the night we were moving, we somehow broke his sprinkler system. Water was everywhere before I turned it off.
I called him and told him what happened. I told him I would pay for every thing. His reply was “Don't worry about it tonight, I'll send someone over tomorrow”. It turned out to be few hundred dollars, which was more than I had after buying a new house. He understood that and gave me time to pay.
Once we moved into our new home, it was one expense after another. Ralph was on my mind every single day. Every time I thought I had the money something else came up with the house. A year passed by. I didn't mean for it to take that long but it did.
Finally, one day I got the money and drove to his home to pay up. It was a year later and I was nervous because I felt like a big flake that didn't pay his bills. I had no idea what his reaction would be.
He opened the door and when he saw me he gave me a big smile and said “Randy, how are you?” I had to get it in fast. I said “Ralph, before you say another word, I have your money” to tell the truth I was very emotional because I felt so bad about the whole thing.
Then he said “Randy God Bless you, I knew you wouldn't let me down. They said you would never pay but I knew you would!” I didn't ask who “They” were but a wave of relief went over me and for the first time in a while I was at ease. He invited me into the house, offered me a glass of water and we talked for about an hour or so before I left. I told my wife what happened. It was important to me to pay this man, especially after all the kindnes he had shown us over the years.
Fast forward to 2009, 2010, my daughter Savannah was invited to a family event at the home of her then boyfriend, Josh Guerrero. Long story short (honest), when Savannah got home that night, she said “You'll never believe who I saw tonight? She was really excited and gushed out “Our landlord Ralph Flores!” I still didn't have a clue. “Ralph Flores? Really, what was he doing there?” Ralph is Josh's great grandfather!!” Now what do think my first thought was? “Thank God I paid my debt!”
Today Ralph is still our friend and he is also the great great grandfather of my grandson Jack! Happy Fathers Day to our old friend and landlord. We will always have a special place in our hearts for Ralph. Now we are related through marriage.
Photo courtesy of Deana Guerrero

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