I’d like to share a story of a complete stranger I met. He’s the guy I met for an interview for networking the day after I was arrested. The news didn’t hit all the papers yet so I decided to go meet with him anyways. He was very nice and gave some really great advice. He said that at every interview you want the person you are interviewing with to know three keys points about you. You want to reintroduce those three characteristics throughout the whole meeting and then you will leave a really great impression. He said that I was driven, passionate and a builder. Leaving that meeting made me feel like who I was just not too long ago. I felt like what happened to me the day before was all a bad nightmare. How did this complete stranger assess my characteristics that I’ve been working so hard for all in one seating? He clearly must have not seen the news or read the paper… I was right…. BUT
The next morning I receive an email. It starts with ‘I’m startled….could this possibly be you?…. and then a link…. My heart sunk and I knew this encounter was too good to be true. How do I respond? I had no idea what came over me, and I said, in reference to the article, it is written about me, but it is NOT me. If you would like to meet further in person to assess my characteristics, I would be happy to do. I clicked sent. I figured this guy would just delete and think that I’m out of my freaking mind to even propose such a crazy idea. The response was not immediate, but I received a response back. He said he would be delighted to.
We met over lunch and I know the uncomfortableness was clearly there. I started out with a joke by saying I’m sure you can add this experience to your bucket list and you may have an added word associated to the characteristics you shared with me the other day. I got a smile out of him and this slightly broke the ice. We began to talk more and I could tell by his body posture he began to get comfortable with me again. He was not looking at me as a potential felon, but that same person who met him over coffee at Starbucks. The same person who shared their vision, passion, dreams and zest for life. The same person who has built an indispensable portfolio of accomplishments and initiatives that help serve the community. Our one hour lunch became a two hour lunch. It was the best conversation I had in a while since I really don’t get out that much these days. We decided to keep in touch. He was leaving for an international trip and said he would follow up upon his return. When I heard this, I thought it would be too good to be true – he was probably just being polite.
This time I was wrong! This stranger became a new friend to me. Someone completely out of the blue who has been a very successful business man. He shared his loss and grief in life and in a way through these experiences he could only imagine what I am currently going through. He followed up upon his return and he shared a really beautiful story with me that I think anyone regardless of the situation they may be in or anyone else is in should know. His grandfather passed away when he was a young boy. His grandfather left a great impression on him. He was a very well respected lawyer. His nickname was “Lala” as he didn’t want to be called grandfather. He would often repeat the phrase “remember, in life, it’s easy to take the easy cases, but anyone can do this. What’s important is to always go for the difficult ones and bring light to them. This is the true measurement of success and value.”
He said that when he met me, he felt like his Lala was whispering in his ear. We all have moments where we would rather take the easier route and just go on with our day. It takes a person with great courage and strength to work a little harder and extend their hand to someone who is completely austercized and not given much hope at the present time. I don’t know where he came from, but I am certainly blessed for his confidence in me. I asked why did he even consider giving me a second chance. He said because if I were in your shoes, I would be praying for the same. He said the best way you can show someone your gratitude is to pay it forward and do the same. So my challenge to you today and tomorrow and so on….make it an “Ooh-LaLa” moment. Do something out of the ordinary for someone you may or may not know. Maybe in your mind forgive the people that may have hurt you or are persecuting you. Go the extra step as this step will provide the extra strength and foundation and hope a person needs in that present moment. They will never forget and most likely will compound the same effort.
R.E. Searcher (pen name), is a member of our online white-collar/nonviolent support group that meets on Monday evenings, 7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, 4 pm Pacific. For more information, click here.