I had a precious client that was a dear, dear, elderly man. He (Mr. P.) had bought and sold many houses through me over the years. But the most important thing about my relationship was not financial----it was what I learned from that sweet, old man. He was 94 years old, and had seen and done more in his lifetime than I probably ever will. He was orphaned as a young boy, and grew up in foster homes. As a young man, he served his country, fighting in World War II. As a civilian, his first job was loading pallets for Nabisco. Over the years, his hard work paid off, and he moved up within the ranks of the company. He retired with them as one of the most top producing salesmen Nabisco had ever had. In his earlier years, he had married the love of his life, and would light up when he talked about her, even though she had passed many years ago. They had one son who is a successful neurosurgeon in Dallas, and I am proud to say, is a client of mine now!
My dear old friend used to call me now and then and say, "I have some things I need to discuss with you. Can I take you to lunch?" And as a gentleman, he would come to my office and pick me up, rather than meeting me at the restaurant. We would talk over fried chicken and ice tea, about everything EXCEPT real estate. He just wanted someone to share his day with.
Funny thing is, this nonagenarian taught me more about myself and my professional career than I ever expected. The old-fashioned work ethic and public relations skills he didn't realize he was teaching me will always be a part of who I am as a professional, and I am grateful to him for the time he chose to spend with me.
There are many people that spend the holidays alone, for whatever reason. Don't forget these folks in the excitement and celebration of the events: Give them a call to let them know you are thinking about them.
Knowing Mr. P. was spending Christmas alone, I called him on Christmas Day to wish him a "Merry Christmas," only to hear his granddaughter, unexpectedly answer the phone. I found out from her that Mr. P. had passed away a few days earlier, and they were in town for the funeral. Unfortunately, I was out of town at the time, and missed the funeral, but I got to spend a lot of time talking to his son and granddaughter, and was able to extend my condolences to them personally. I wanted them to know what a wonderful father/granddaughter they had, and what a special blessing he was to me.
This Random Act of Kindness is dedicated to Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, born September 12, 2006. To learn more about Benjamin and the other angels of Sandy Hook Elementary, please go to: http://mysandyhookfamily.org.
Lovin' Life in the Lowcountry,