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What is the most important quality to have in a business? Or why I hired Toolan Landscaping to mow my lawn.


The sun is shining in Pennsylvania. It is spring, it has rained, and the grass is green and growing. It is that time of year where you pull out your old lawnmower, get the blade sharpened, and get ready to mow your lawn every week. Or you ask your friends for a recommendation for a Landscaping service.

For the past four years we have pushed our little John Deere up and down the hill in the backyard every week. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth,  back and forth, back and forth,  back and forth, back and forth,  back and forth, back and forth,  back and forth, back and forth. Did  you get bored reading how many times I went back and forth with the lawnmower? Me too.

This year we hired Toolan Landscaping to mow our lawn. Why? Why did we hire them? It relates to the most important quality to have in a business. See if you can figure it out after the end of this little anecdote.

At the end of last summer, I was pushing my mower up a steep hill, slipping on the grass, when I noticed Greg Toolan from Toolan Landscaping trimming the grass with a high-powered weed-whipper in a neighbors backyard a few doors down. Oh, maybe I can pay him to trim the grass beside my sidewalks. My weed-whipper lay in parts in the garage, the spring needed to put it back together missing. I don’t know that I would have been able to emotionally handle going all winter with random grass blades touching my sidewalk. I have severe anxiety about my sidewalks not looking neat. I have been tempted to go and cut the grass that touched the sidewalk with a pair of sewing scissors.

“Greg, can you trim the grass beside my sidewalk. I will pay you.”

“You don’t have to pay. I will do it for you. Do you  want the outside of the house trimmed too?” (This dialog is from memory. I didn’t have a tape-recorder playing while we talked. But the essence of the conversation is accurate. I may have said, “Hi, or excuse me.” He may have said,  “Hello.”)

He trimmed the sidewalk without payment, and he even cleaned up his mess with the machine that is very loud and blows away the little pieces of grass that were cut.

Kind right?

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
― Henry James

Henry James may not have been talking about a Landscaping business when he said what three things in life are important, but kindness is always good advice.

What did you guess? Did you guess kindness?

Kindness is the most important quality to have in a business.

Mr. Toolan did not pay me to write this, or offer to give me a tree. This is not a paid endorsement. Isn’t it nice to just be nice?

And you might even be thinking, “Hodges, what are you writing about a landscaping business? I don’t even live in Pennsylvania? I live in Canada. I can’t hire the guy.”

The story appears to be about cutting grass, but it is really about being nice. Or that the good guy wins.

Do you tend to call the manager more often when you get bad service? Or do you like to call the manager to tell them someone was nice to you? Mr. Toolan owns his own company. So I can’t call his boss and say, “Hey, this guy Greg who works for you did a great job. You should give him a raise.” But, I can tell you, so I will. “Hey, if you want your lawn mowed, or you need a tree planted, or you want ideas of how to make your yard look great, call Greg Toolan.”

Toolan Landscaping, 610-256-9054, or send him an email, [email protected]

What do you think is the most important quality to have in a business? Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.


If you can’t hire Greg to put a couple of trees in your yard, or mow your lawn, because you live on a boat off the coast of Italy, then today when you go shopping for an ice cream cone, tell the manager that the sales clerk who helped you was kind. Take a minute to write a note, call the manager, or do an on-line survey. Today follow the advice of Henry James: be kind, be kind, be kind.


Just be kind. Be kind to your dog. Be kind to your husband. Be kind to your kids. Be kind to your wife. Be kind to the telemarketer. And, be kind to yourself.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    Loved it.

  • You’re so right. It’s all about being pure and kind. No one likes working with…Well…Jerks. <—Nice word 😉

    • Hello Devani,
      Yes, nice people are nicer to work with. Thank you for the use of a nice word.

  • Dear Mrs. Hodges.
    I want to thank you for your kindness from the day we met. You always made time to say hallo and to encourage me. Your kindness towards me changed the way I see the world. And you are right. The world runs on kindness. Kindness from friends, strangers, lovers, friends.
    I do make a point to show kindness towards waiters, cashiers, shop assists and ice-cream sales people. Showing kindness, saying thank you with a smile and of course, always greeting someone in his/her native language. Especially in South Africa where people tend to ignore service people as if they are invisible.
    The world needs people like you to remind other people to show kindness.
    Kindest regards,
    Patricia Storbeck
    ps. I too like my lawn needly trimmed and I even sweep the street in front of my house. As for the docks. Well, yachties are need freaks anyway. We do not have space for 76 pairs of underwear. We are kind towards ‘mariners’ as they help us when we dock and we don’t want to damage our beautiful boats.

    • Dear Mrs. Storbeck,

      Well, I hadn’t planned on tearing up today. Thank you for your kind comment. My brave, blond, friend on a boat, who has helped me to be brave and live my dreams. Right now your passion for life is helping me to finally clean out my basement. Today.

      May I never spend the rest of my life dusting off the past, but may I create something new, and always have the spirit of Pippi
      I always think of you as the kind woman who smiles at shop keepers. And a writer who will always take the time to autograph her books for adoring fans.
      Hmm, how many pair of underwear do you have room for on the boat? Or maybe you don’t need any. Mayve you live have 76 swim suits?
      All the best
      My dream visit after I sell a million books is to come and sit on your boat at the dock with you and James. ( I don’t think I have sea legs. I think I just have dock legs.)

      • Dear Mrs Hodges, may I call you Pamela? It’s a beautiful name. Not 76 pairs but many more than your average land-lubber. I live in bikini’s – don’t have much use for underwear in summer. Also its less laundry to do.
        You don’t need to sell a million books – you only need to call and say;”Hey, its me, where are you now. I’m coming over. Put the wine on ice”.