Author's Note: This is the title story from my book, "One Shovel Full - Telling Stories to Change Beliefs, Attitudes, and Perceptions," and also from one of my most successful Workshops. I've told it to thousands of people in workshops for major companies throughout the World. People love hearing it, and have often quoted the message back to me. I hope you will like it to.

Brad Fregger

Kathie and I moved into our first home in January of 1970. It was a new house that we had purchased for about $28,000 (which seemed like a fortune to us at the time) and we were very excited about being able to fix it up...make it look really beautiful...make it our home. After the rainy season was over we started on the backyard.

We had purchased a truck load of beautiful used bricks that had been part of an old brick works chimney that had been torn down to make room for more houses. The bricks were over 100 years old and we were excited about having some local history as a part of our landscaping. Once we had the bricks, and a plan on how to use them--a small brick patio outside our bedroom and, a retaining wall across most of the backyard--we quickly figured out that we were going to need a lot of sand to complete the job.

About ten miles from our home was a very large sand quarry, so early one morning I took the kids and we drove out there to buy some sand. When we got to the quarry I saw the dispatcher's office (actually a shack) on the far side of a small parking lot, I parked next to it and went inside.

The dispatcher was an older guy with a friendly grin. "What can I do for you? You lost? Need directions?" He said, as I entered the office.

"No. We're OK." I gestured out the office door to my car with my three kids sitting patiently inside. "We were wondering if we could buy some sand?"

He looked at me like I was crazy. "Only if you want enough to fill one of my dump trucks."

At this precise moment another man walked into the office, smiled and said to the dispatcher, "There's nothing for me to do here today, Bob. I'll check back with you tomorrow."

The dispatcher looked at him, then he looked back at me--and I saw a light go on over his head.

"'d you feel about taking a load of sand by this guy's house on your way home?"

"Where do you live?" Joe asked.

"Near the corner of Blossom Hill and Cottle....About 10 miles from here."

"No problem."

"Wow! Thanks a lot." I turned to Bob and asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"You can have the sand, consider it a gift, I don't know what Joe wants for delivering it."

"Got a spare six-pack?"

"Sure!" This was working out just great.

Bob reached for his mike, "Sam you there?"


"Could you bring a shovel full up here and drop it in Joe's pickup?"

"On my way."

Within a couple of minutes the biggest earth mover I ever saw came around the corner from the quarry. The tires alone were twice as tall as our car. I could see the kids (Jeff 10, Jon 7 and Bryn 4) pointing out the window, exclaiming with excitement. Attached to the earth mover was a scooper big enough to hold Joe's truck with room to spare. Joe's truck was as large a "pick-up" as I'd ever seen. The scooper was only half full, but it held enough sand to fill the truck, enough sand to fill our driveway.

Sam drove that monster machine like he was part of it. Before I knew it he was next to the truck, dumping his load. Wham, bam, thank you Sam....I don't think he spilled a shovel full on the ground. I stood there and watched as the truck bounced up and down on it's shock absorbers a couple of times, awed by this quick turn of events.

Joe hopped into his truck and hollered, "Lead the way!"

That snapped me out of my reverie. I jumped into our station wagon, started it up and quickly shifted into gear. We headed home, me, the kids and Joe following with all the sand I needed to finish up the backyard.

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