Do Unto Others More Than They'd Do For You

I've talked before about the value of What Else (giving people an extra little something for their money), the art of gift giving, and how Derek Jeter plays the game, not the score.

All of those stories speak to the benefit of doing for others without expecting anything in return. How karma usually repays you in kind.

Well, here's a true story that combines all the elements. Here's a story that shows how a little extra generosity saved my friend's life!

A couple of years ago, my friend Mark Weiner discovered a small lump in his groin - so he was referred to a urologist by a doctor he knew.

The urologist did a CAT scan.

“Preliminarily, the scan looks good,” the doctor told Mark. “But I won’t have the official results back for a few days.”

Meanwhile, Mark had noticed that the urologist was a Yankees fan, on account of some mementos he had in his office. So a couple of months after that appointment, Mark sent him a Derek Jeter-autographed photo he liked (from Steiner Sports of course). The urologist called to thank him.

“By the way, how was your biopsy?” the urologist asked.

“What biopsy?” Mark answered.

It turns out, upon closer inspection, Mark’s CAT scan had revealed some troubling signs. The urologist sent the scan results to the original doctor who had referred Mark, telling him that Mark needed a biopsy right away. But that doctor had dropped the ball. Mark was never informed he needed a biopsy.

So Mark had a biopsy right away, and he was told he had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. At the time of the CAT scan, it had likely been at Stage 2.

Mark immediately got treatment and fortunately, he was able to fight the cancer into remission.

But had he not sent the urologist the Jeter photo – had he not gone a little out of his way for him – he never would have found out about the missed biopsy. Had he not sent that gift, there’s a good chance Mark would have died of lymphoma.

I forget how much the photo cost, but it was definitely the biggest bargain of all time.

In November 2010, three years after he battled cancer, Mark was at the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas. He spotted Derek Jeter there. He went up to him.

"You saved my life,” Mark told Derek.

Derek looked at him a little bemused, probably thinking: ‘Who is this nut?’

Mark told him the story.

“That’s great,” Derek said, smiling. “Is there anything I can do to help you now?”

“No,” Mark said. “You’ve already helped me enough. I really appreciate it.”

How many celebrities would have responded like that?

Derek understands the value of What Else. He goes the extra mile to help people without expecting anything in return.

The Yankee Captain has always been praised for the poise with which he plays baseball – for how he carries himself as a professional, day in and day out. He lives his private life with the same code of honor.


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