Editor's note: This blog was originally published on July 2, 2019.
One of the main lessons I’ve learned as an adult is that a lot of people in this world need to re-learn the child’s lesson of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” You may meet someone. You may not like their appearance and you may immediately dislike him or her because of that superficial information. You may even make assumptions about the quality or character of that person. Admittedly, I sometimes fall into that trap. But I do my best to avoid that from happening by remembering four words, “Everyone has a story.”
Everyone has a personal history of how they arrived at their current position in life. It's history you may know absolutely nothing about.
Such is the case of a construction worker's experience that happened last year but has recently caught viral attention on social media.
Andy Ross is from Vancouver, WA. Ross went to the store one evening after working his construction job on a day that happened to get him extremely grimy and dirty. A little girl was staring at him at the checkout counter even after her mother told her not to. According to LADBible.com, Ross wrote on Facebook:
"They ended up in front of me as I was checking out. The little girl still staring, her mother told her to stop staring. As they finished and headed towards the door, I hear her mom say quietly to the little girl 'That is why you need to stay in school'.”
Ross then took the time to “educate” this mother and her young daughter.
"First, I happen to be a very educated dirty man. I not only have a high school diploma, I also have a college degree and many medical certifications. So assuming that I am uneducated because of my appearance is actually quite ignorant in itself.
He went on to explain that the tattoos on his arms showed his appreciation for artistic expression and also stood as tributes to his patriotism and multiple combat tours as a special operations medic. He then explained his dirt and grime covered appearance was due to his career in construction.
"Finally, I chose to work in the construction industry. I am proud to say that I am a part of building America and I enjoy my job every day. I tried working a desk job when I got out of the service and it wasn't for me. I enjoy working with my hands and being outdoors. Subsequently, it comes with being dirty some days. I make good money, have benefits, and am able to provide for my family without issue. So my appearance reflects nothing to do with my level of intelligence or pursuing a higher level of education.
Ross wrapped up his viral post by offering numerous pieces of advice. Among them were:
“Do what you love and enjoy and it's never work.”
“Education is important, but college doesn't guarantee you anything.”
“Experience, hard work, and dedication allow you to be successful in your career path.”
Then he went to take a shower.