This I Believe

Klacsman, Joseph J.


  • Joseph Klacsman describes his simple faith and the happiness he derives from serving a wide variety of passengers during his work as a Pullman conductor.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. The public is monumentally hard to please but Pullman conductor Joseph J. Klacsman of the Pennsylvania Rail Road likes to go out of his way to serve people. His kindnesses have earned him the friendship of hundreds of passengers on his run between New York, Philadelphia and Washington and from them he has drawn some of the beliefs he reveals now.
I am convinced that I am one of those people with a deep, simple, unquestioning faith, faith in my God, in my principles, in my family and my friends. To me a person either has or has not this virtue called faith. If he has, he cannot thrust it aside and force his head to rule his heart. If he has not, try as he may, his heart will rule his head. Many times I have been called a softie; yes, and in the vernacular, a sucker. Anyone who deals with the public knows that many and varied are the problems put before him. Being a railroad man qualifies me to talk knowingly. I strive to give the public all the service at my command. That is part of my job.
But then I find myself going further, like this: the many times I loan a passenger the amount of his fare when he carelessly left his wallet at home; the times I listen to a long tale of woe from a sad old lady; the patience and tact required to control the inebriated gent who annoys other passengers. Doing these little extra things to help others make me feel good inside.
Naturally we railroad men come in contact with all types of people: prominently recognized industrialists; government officials who, despite their importance, have retained a plainness and kindness characteristic of people accustomed to the finer things in life.
Experience teaches my fellow workers and me to recognize at the outset the other kind of meticulous person whose characteristics require special handling. True as I am to my faith, I know through experience that one must do everything in his power to help that faith.
I have not, by any means, escaped my share of disappointment, disillusion, and heartache, but somehow by continued effort, struggle, and faith, I overcame all these and in most cases achieved a goal I sought. I now find myself leading a full, contented, and happy life with my family and friends. In reflecting on the past, I think of my ambition and determination to be a successful lawyer and how after struggling and striving for many years attained that ambition.
At least I did become a licensed lawyer of my state. I had an opportunity to become employed by the Pullman Company, and much to my surprise, in a short time, discovered to what extent I enjoy not only serving people but mixing with them, learning both the good and bad that befell them. Then I realized what a small world most of us live in. These are some of the things I believe in.
That was railroad man Joseph J. Klacsman of North Bergen, New Jersey, once a sports writer, also an attorney at law, who has faith in people and therefore is keen to share their problems.