Christian Living devotional

A Winning Formula

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After I left full-time ministry, but before I became a teacher, I spent three years in sales with Frito Lay, Inc. I was a Route Sales Rep, which is a front-line position selling salty snacks to grocery and convenience stores.

One day, my boss was helping me set up a huge display of potato chips at a grocery store. It was five in the morning, and I had eleven more accounts to visit that day, so I was in a bit of a rush. Pulling a large cart stacked high with boxes of potato chips, I turned a corner too sharply and clipped a huge display of pancake syrup at the end of an aisle. Several glass bottles crashed to the floor, creating a growing pool of sticky brown goo.

I know big boys aren’t supposed to cry, but looking at the mess I’d just made, I started to lose it. To my surprise, my supervisor didn’t berate me. Instead, he came over, put his hands on my shoulders, and said, “Are you ok?”

That’s how it really went down. No joke!

“These things happen,” he said calmly, “I once dropped a pallet of milk off a loading dock!” He then showed me a neat trick: pouring corn meal on icky messes makes them more manageable. After applying a few boxes to the chestnut colored goop, I was able to scrape up the whole mess and finish stocking my display.

My boss knew just how to help me recover from a set back. Instead of coming unglued, he came alongside, giving me the tools to cope with a challenging situation.

Years later, I analyzed what he did, and figured out his winning formula:

How to Come Alongside Someone in Need

  • Ask – “Are you OK?” Recognize that all is not well.
  • Acknowledge – “These things happen sometimes. I once did something similar.” Identify with the situation.
  • Assist – “Let me show you a trick for cleaning this up.” Offer to help.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Triple-A: it’s a winning formula for helping others.

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

44 replies on “A Winning Formula”

Thank you for your honesty, Manette Kay. I’m grateful you kept reading! Maybe I chose the wrong word in my title. My intention was to share a plan, or strategy, not a guarantee. Real life is too complicated and unpredictable to control with formulas and equations. For instance, some who make mistakes don’t want help, sympathy or encouragement. However, I’m a natural helper, so I like to think people will welcome assistance. God Bless, and thanks again for your thoughts. I enjoy your blog.

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David, I confess I first cringed at the word formula. Too often believers try to boil down some aspect of the Christian life into steps or a formula that often results in putting omnipotent God in a box. But I love this post and your formula. You identified easy helpful tools that permit the love of Christ to flow through us. Wow, what a difference if each of us put this tip into practice as God directs divine appointments into our daily lives. Thanks for sharing your story/lesson learned.

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Loved this, David! It reminded me of a time when I was an asst. mgr. at fast food place. One of the workers screwed something up. She was clearly scared that she would be chewed out. I assured her I wouldn’t. “You’re not going to yell at me?” “No. Would you learn this lesson better if I did?” “No.” “Then I guess we’re done here.” The smile on her face said it all. I can only hope it was a moment she remembered and paid it forward.

So, to your point; your boss not only helped you but everyone “downstream” from that event. You pass this lesson on, and we can only wonder how far those ripples will go!!

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That is cool story where just being available in someones time of trouble is all it takes. Sometimes just seeing a need and being willing to get involved is all the witness that is needed. Excellent analysis of the “winning formula” David. God bless you brother.

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Wow, that certainly was a grace-filled day! And it all started with your boss choosing to empathize with you. God was working in that grocery store that day!

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And the grocery store manager absorbed the loss—he wouldn’t let me pay for the ruined syrup! Of course I made sure (with blessings from my boss) to provide him a couple of extra boxes of chips at no cost. It was certainly a grace-filled day. Thank you for reading and commenting. Blessings.


After years of working as cashier in different grocery stores, and watching the reps come in with carts stacked high, I can easily picture the whole situation! Not pretty! I cringed a little before reading your boss’ reaction. I am so glad he came alongside you, and instead of chewing you out, asked how you were, empathized, and helped out. I’m sure you had a much better day afterwards, than had he gotten angry with you. Bless the bosses who understand!
Thanks for the formula!

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This is relevant to something that happened yesterday. We use walkies in my job to communicate about patients. One of my staff members called over the walkie and sounded distressed. I came to find her and she was on the floor she had tripped. I did ask if she was okay, told her this happens sometimes and then let her know the next steps, including coming to me so I can assess her. I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted due to time constraints and a flurry of meetings all day. Your post reminded me to check up on her. I had not been able to finish what I wanted to do to help her yesterday, but I can make up for it today. We really do owe each other assistance in times of need.

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Excellent formula David! Good at all times but especially when working with children. Thank you for sharing! Your words “Instead of coming unglued, he came alongside, giving me the tools to cope with a challenging situation,” made me think of how often Jesus does this in our lives as it says in Hebrews 4:15. Have a wonderful weekend.

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What an inspiring story of human kindness and what happens when we remember our humanity. Such a beautiful experience that could of definitely had another outcome. It’s our connection with others that adds the color and zest to life. Recognizing ourselves in each other, our hearts all beat the same. We do all need a little help sometimes. Blessings to you David and thank you for starting my Saturday with loving kindness with a side of hope for humanity 😊🙏❤

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David, I love this formula. My first reaction to something like this would be to offer to help, but I really like asking, “Are you ok?” first. We all want someone to care about us, especially at a moment of crisis – big or small. By asking this first, we take care of the most important need first. I’ll remember this going forward. Thanks for another uplifting post.

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Good bosses like that are hard to come by. He emulated the way we believers need to treat each other. I couldn’t help but think of Galatians 6:1 as well in this scenario.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”
None of us are above messing up. Instead of piling on others, we need to restore gently using your Triple A method.

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