Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Youth of Today. I Sleep Better.

Today's Leaders Let's call him Frederick Running somewhat late (as opposed to fashionably late) for JumpStart Inc's Annual Meeting in Akron, Ohio this past Friday, rather than put my ear to the wet pavement, I actually asked for directions. Honest. The first passerby was a professionally dressed, arms full and with an umbrella collapsed, yet at the ready, young man. We were on the ground floor of a parking garage near the former Quaker Oats Mill and visibility to the outside surroundings were limited at best. I ask for directions to the John Knight Center. He looked around, trying to gain a sense of direction. Frederick actually said, "Give me a minute to get my bearings." Fine. Well, it would have been, if I were not somewhat on the impatient side. I hate to be late. Even when I am not speaking (and I wasn't). So with a nod and extended hand, he pointed out a break in the parking structure towards the general direction of what he explained was Mill Avenue. I was in motion as he completed his thought and I thanked him as I ran out in search of the event. As I made my way around the blocked sidewalk of a construction project, the light sprinkle gave me pause. Should I return for my umbrella? If you know me, you know that I pressed on. I had to cross the street to get out of the street and avoid becoming road kill at the hands of a very passionate taxi driver. Up the street, then back across the street to make my way towards the Center. Go back for the umbrella? No way! So I am half-running in my black dress shoes that I only wear twice a year. Yes, I have owned them for five or six, maybe even seven years, but they really are not broken in, at least not enough to mask the pain they were causing my ankles. But I digress... So, half way up the block, I take cover under a roof to gather my thoughts. Determine whether I really need to be at this event. Curse Ohio's idea of Fall weather. Reflect on the cup of coffee that I did not stop and purchase because I was running late. When I hear a voice shouting out towards me from back at the street that I had to cross twice. It is Frederick. Umbrella still collapsed. What gives? Only two ways to find out, and my ESP is not what I had hoped it would be. Must be the lack of that cup of coffee. He explains that he gave me the wrong directions. Honest. In a light rain, this young man tracked me down to correct his error. Even better? It was my error. I rushed him to respond, and really did not give him even 10 seconds to get his bearings before I rushed off. How rude of me. And now, Frederick was still willing to walk (and perhaps run a little) over a block to catch me to set me straight. I sleep better knowing that "youth" is not completely wasted on the young.
An Open Letter to Frederick: If there is ever anything that you need. Anything. Ever. Please let me know and allow me the chance to help. Honest. Do I have an excess of resources to spare? No. But if one can put a thousand to flight, and two can put ten thousand to flight, then you can count on me to join you in your efforts for "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Why? Because unlike "those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat", you put yourself out there for me. It was not the convenient thing to do. A simple happenstance connected us for mere seconds. Me? I assume there must be a reason. Maybe you need to hear my "Left Turn" Analogy. Remind me to share it with you. I obviously needed reminding; I took a left out of the garage. Take comfort in the fact that you have made a positive change in one man's life. Mine! Honest. Your simple act of taking on the mantle of responsibility for another is to be commended. And have a great life.
Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey (c)2009, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.
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