A Special Man

Date posted: February 18, 2011

 
This has been a banner winter here in New England. Almost 70 inches of snow and it’s only mid-February. Yeah, crazy. Each and every storm, my brother, Riv, heads out to plow his driveway, all of his neighbors’ driveways (yes, the entire neighborhood!), and our family members’ driveways. (If only I lived closer! 😉 ) Oh, and this isn’t his occupation. No, he owns a company unrelated to plowing. This is strictly by choice, and he refuses to take a cent from anyone. My mom shared a related story with me about Riv during a recent phone chat.

During one of the many snow storms this winter, Riv (whose real name is Robert, by the way) is up and out by 4:30 AM tackling the snowy roads. Along his route to help friends and family, he comes across a woman with two young children in a minivan as she attempts to drive up her driveway, but keeps sliding back into the street. Pretty dangerous stuff. She waves Riv down and asks for help. Of course he doesn’t hesitate. After alerting her that he can’t be responsible for anything that might be under the snow that could get damaged, he clears the way to make sure she and her precious cargo make it up the slippery hill safe and sound. The woman gushes her thanks, and offers to pay him, which, of course, he declines. That’s just who he is.

One thing that’s particularly frustrating about Riv is that he’s impossible to convince just how special he is. His generosity and kind heart is just such a part of his being, that it seems he can’t imagine anyone being any other way. And this is why I think he has trouble accepting the compliments. His body language reaction is always a “That’s just what you do. Duh. Be kind.” So I’m putting him on blast and making a public proclamation! 🙂

Riv truly and genuinely gets such joy out of helping. A few years back when we bought our first home, my wife, Melissa and I were overwhelmed by the amount of support and generosity from our friends and families. It’s as if everyone was just as excited as we were about this new chapter, and they were thrilled to help out. It’s a time that fills my heart whenever I think of it. And Riv was right there in the mix. From loading up the moving truck, to supervising the process and directing our team of loved ones, from changing the locks on the front door to installing our appliances, the guy never stopped. And he exuded such joy the whole time. It amazed me. He never got frustrated if things were more challenging than expected. He kept the jokes coming and the positive energy flowing.

I’m in awe of his bright spirit and his capacity to love. You can even see and feel it in the photo of him above, posing with Melissa. As I observe him with his wife, Karen, and two sons, JR and Matty, and all who he comes in contact with — family or strangers, he emanates love and radiates light. He truly is a special man.

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  1. He is an amazing brother, father, husband and friend to all who know him. I am lucky to call him my brother. I can only say “ditto” to everything Kerri has mentioned above. If you have ever had the opportunity to meet him, you would surely never forget him. Love ya RIV

  2. I am proud to be Robert’s (Riv) brother-law. I second the motion, to everything Kerri just spoke of. He always makes you feel like you’re the best thing to happen to him in his hectic day. I just wish he was a better basketball player (joke). Love ya too Riv

  3. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing man. Yes, I too believe that it is truly an honor to call Robert Richardson my brother. His enthusiasm for life and the joy he brings just being around him is amazing. When I hear stories of his kindness it never surprises me, he is the type of man that would be there for you in a minute if you needed anything. So here’s to you my dear baby brother, You the man!!! Love you forever!!!!!

  4. Lia

    Wow, Kerri this is amazing! I love it. You are 100% correct about Uncle Bob. He is my godfather and I could not think of a better one. He is truly an amazing person who loves people no matter what. He is always there to help and loves to do it. I love you Uncle Bob and I hope you appreciate all this love and compliments from your sister!!

  5. JR

    Glad to see the family coming out for RIV. Born on the 6th of December which is also his father’s father-in-law’s birthday, the year 1966, so river rat is 666, the devil, however he uses this rascal image to benefit a lot of family and friends. The Chinese number the sons in the family, Riv is my number two son but is number one in a lot of ways! LOVE DAD

  6. Riv

    Those comments are very much appreciated. I am very lucky to have such a great family. Walter, I am practicing hoop every day to reach your level.

    Love to everyone 🙂

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