Breaking News
More () »

Just another good deed: A tribute to my parents

From taking care of sick kids to taking X-rays to helping feed the poor, my parents have continued to pay it forward.
Credit: Dan Buffa

ST. LOUIS — "Let’s drop it off while we do some deliveries.”

At the crisp age of 68, Richard Buffa still carries the raw spark plug energy of a guy in his 30’s. Amid my initial refusal to incorporate a good deed drop off into our evening of driving around dropping off food, my dad refused to give in. After all, he was paying forward what my mom had already set in motion.

After an elderly lady pulled away from the ATM recently, Elizabeth Buffa noticed something peculiar about the machine: a card was sticking out. After doing her business, she decided to take the card with her. After all, leaving it there only leads some lesser human to take it and spend it away.

After I showed up at the house – I hang out at my parents’ house at least once a week – phone calls to the bank had already been made and a plan was being put into place like the local high school football coaching staff would draw up a score.

After all, this was a win no matter what transpired. My parents wanted to do a good Samaritan gesture, something that the world can use a boatload more of in the coming weeks. It would have been so easy and momentarily harmless to just leave the card there and drive on, but giving back is part of my family’s DNA.

Elizabeth spent 35 plus years at Children’s Hospital as a nurse, and my dad was an X-ray technician at nearby Barnes for 35 plus years as well. Those are rough numbers, but let’s just say you could name a part of Kingshighway Boulevard after the Buffas. If you drove down that street to pull into one of those two hospitals in the 70s or even well into the 2000s, there was a fair chance a Buffa helped you. My grandmother Stella and my aunt Cheri Meyer also worked at Barnes.

It’s just in their nature. After a few calls, my dad got a hold of the elderly lady. The phone was put on speaker, and I took the notes. She sounded so rattled and unsure of who she was talking to. With all the cyberterrorism and all sneaky threats lurking around corners for older people these days, I could only imagine her mind stepping over a minefield of possibilities as two grown yet younger men were speaking to her.

Credit: The Buffas
Elizabeth and Richard Buffa

We got the address and about an hour later, the debit card was dropped off. I remember walking up to the door trying to think of the least threatening way to approach the door. From her perspective, anything could be walking up into her life. I thought of dancing like a goofball, but then the cops would be called.

I knocked and took the necessary three steps away. My dad, lighting a cigar in the car and watching over me as he always does when I leave the car for a pickup or drop-off, was an earshot away. The door opened and a big smile appeared. She was so grateful, and I was just the messenger.

My parents are the ones that have never stopped giving back in some way to this city. They still make good on a promise to my late grandmother, Henrietta, by bringing food and supplies to the nuns at the downtown shelter. They donate to the local pet shelters. I can’t tell you how many times they have called me asking for help, and it’s not even a thing for them.

Just another good deed. Everybody out there can become a good egg. You go through thick, thin, and everything else life can throw at you even before you turn 40. The good don’t die young for no reason. But having great parents gets you ahead of the game. I was lucky to have Beth and Rich (what they prefer to be called) as my parents. Maybe that’s why I hang with them so much even after my 40th birthday. Well, it’s a small part.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your reading agenda for the past seven years. This is my final KSDK article, at least for a good while. As Tony said, every beginning has an end. From Cardinals and Blues takes to movie reviews, interviews with stars and filmmakers included, it’s been my pleasure writing for you. If there’s one person I should thank, it’s Jordan Palmer for setting me loose on the website all those years ago.

But the real credit goes to Beth and Rich. They set the playbook early on, worked their tails off to keep a solid roof over our (I have an older brother, Bryan) heads, and helped me become the good egg I am today. Without them, I wouldn't know how to treat people so decently and fairly. I wouldn't know that four different tool rooms were required in the basement, or how to work through a grocery store like a ninja. I owe a lot to them, even if they keep paying off the human life tab by doing things that a good portion of souls would not.

Just another good deed. Paying it forward. Thanks, mom and dad. So long for a while.

Find all my writing for the time being at Dose of Buffa and Ramble On With Buffa.

Before You Leave, Check This Out