An old Bear Bryant story. It don't cost nothing to be nice.

HooBama

Bamanation Citizen
Jan 11, 2009
45
0
0
Sittin on a dock by the Bay
Bear’s story

“I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player, and I was havin’ trouble finding the place. Getting hungry, I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said ‘Restaurant.’
“I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I’m the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good, so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a T-shirt and cap comes over and says, ‘What do you need?’
“I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today? He says, ‘You probably won’t like it here. Today we’re having chitlins, collard greens and black-eyed peas with cornbread. I’ll bet you don’t even know what chitlins (small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the Deep South) are, do you?’
“I looked him square in the eye and said, ‘I’m from Arkansas, I’ve probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I’m in the right place.’ They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, ‘You ain’t from around here, then?’
“I explain I’m the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I’m here to find whatever that boy’s name was and he says, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of him, he’s supposed to be pretty good.’ And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.
“As I’m paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one, and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should play.
“The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I’d been there. I was so new that I didn’t have any yet. It really wasn’t that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I’d get him one.
“I met the kid I was lookin’ for later that afternoon and I don’t remember his name, but do remember I didn’t think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.
“When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn’t forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day, we found a picture and I wrote on it, ‘Thanks for the best lunch I’ve ever had.’
“Now let’s go a whole bunch of years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I’m back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y’all remember, (and I forget the name, but it’s not important to the story), well anyway, he’s got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he’s got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave emptyhanded and go on to see some others while I’m down there.
“Two days later, I’m in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it’s this kid who just turned me down, and he says, ‘Coach, do you still want me at Alabama?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I sure do.’ And he says, ‘OK, I’ll come.’ And I say, ‘Well, son, what changed your mind?’
“He said, ‘When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn’t going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn’t playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y’all met.’
“Well, I didn’t know his granddad from Adam’s house cat, so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, ‘You probably don’t remember him, but you ate at his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he’s had hung in that place ever since. That picture’s his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him.’
“My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and, to Grandpa, that’s everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I’m going to.’
“I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don’t cost nuthin’ to be nice. It don’t cost nuthin’ to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin’ your word to someone.
“When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he’s still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn’t have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made Dreamland proud, and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don’t think I didn’t leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.
“I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they’re out on the road. If you don’t remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.”
 

Dartigan

All-SEC
Sep 20, 2004
1,833
2
57
Tuscaloosa
Coach Paul W. Bryant said:
It don’t cost nuthin’ to be nice. It don’t cost nuthin’ to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin’ your word to someone.
What a fine lesson!
 

time_4_the_TIDE

All-SEC
Apr 28, 2009
1,617
0
0
Mentone, AL
I never get tired of reading it...
I find myself jealous of some of you younger fellas....Bryant died 20 days after I was born. My grandfather met him several times b/c he played FB at Scottsboro High School with Pat Trammell and they were big buddies and he even has one of Bryant's Houndstooth's that is signed. I am trying to get my sister, Shannon Lynch, she's a varsity cheerleader at BAMA right now, to get me to Saban so I can get my Houndstooth visor signed and add it to the shelf beside the Bear's hat.
 
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TIDE-HSV

Senior Administrator
Staff member
Oct 13, 1999
75,238
19,566
437
Huntsville, AL,USA
I find myself jealous of some of you younger fellas....Bryant died 20 days after I was born. My grandfather met him several times b/c he played FB at Scottsboro High School with Pat Trammell and they were big buddies and he even has one of Bryant's Houndstooth's that is signed. I am trying to get my sister, Shannin Lynch, she's a varsity cheerleader at BAMA right now, to get me to Saban so I can get my Houndstooth visor signed and add it to the shelf beside the Bear's hat.
"Younger fellows?" :D
 

TIDE-HSV

Senior Administrator
Staff member
Oct 13, 1999
75,238
19,566
437
Huntsville, AL,USA
"Younger fellows?" :D
Just joking. Some days I feel my seventy years, but, mostly not. Sometimes, I feel twenty for about thirty seconds, but that's about as long as it lasts for me. I won't specify what thirty seconds that is... :D
 
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TommyMac

Hall of Fame
Apr 24, 2001
14,041
31
0
80
Mobile, Alabama
I find myself jealous of some of you younger fellas....Bryant died 20 days after I was born. My grandfather met him several times b/c he played FB at Scottsboro High School with Pat Trammell and they were big buddies and he even has one of Bryant's Houndstooth's that is signed. I am trying to get my sister, Shannin Lynch, she's a varsity cheerleader at BAMA right now, to get me to Saban so I can get my Houndstooth visor signed and add it to the shelf beside the Bear's hat.
I'd bet that Coach Saban would be plumb proud to sign it and have it share a shelf with one of Coach Bryant's. :)
 

Dallas4Bama

Suspended
Sep 27, 2006
3,882
0
0
Dallas, Texas
I find myself jealous of some of you younger fellas....Bryant died 20 days after I was born. My grandfather met him several times b/c he played FB at Scottsboro High School with Pat Trammell and they were big buddies and he even has one of Bryant's Houndstooth's that is signed. I am trying to get my sister, Shannon Lynch, she's a varsity cheerleader at BAMA right now, to get me to Saban so I can get my Houndstooth visor signed and add it to the shelf beside the Bear's hat.
I with you Time and feel the same way. Especially some of these guys like Earle who were on campus when Coach arrived. They saw the greatest era of football at the University from beginning to end. I can never get enough of the stories or read enough about the man named Paul Bear Bryant.

There's a story or a poem I can't remember it exactly, but I remember a line talking about being on campus in Tuscaloosa in the fall and it says something about "The big cat himself walking the sidelines...". I would loved to have been there to experience it myself.

I take pride in the fact that when I was on campus I was able to enjoy a national championship and watch Coach Stallings lead the Tide.
 

JAXFLBAMAFAN

All-SEC
Nov 30, 1999
1,125
4
157
63
Jacksonville FL
I read this story a couple of years ago on here I think and have used it in a sermon to illustrate kindness. It works because of the era it is set in and the man it happened to.