There are people who pass through our lives and we sometimes don’t know why until they’re a disappearing speck on the horizon, the kind you can barely see behind the atmospheric waves coming off the ground, but you keep watching until you’re sure they’re gone. That’s the point though. The impression of those people never leaves you, because they touched you with something enduring. A life’s lesson. Like mutual respect.
On Friday afternoon I received a quick email reminding me of a co-worker’s last day. I made a mental note to call him on the ride to the Cape. After getting his voicemail, I told Joyce how this man always opened any conversation with inquiries about Megan or Jessica or Maddy or Kyle. He knew their names. And while I know it was a core competency of his job to know those names and what motivated people, I’ve known few people with his ability to make those exchanges so real. I told her how that effort to know me and always ask about my family made me willing to “run through a wall” for him.
Oh, and I did. I spent a few weekends running through walls that began with a program request on a Friday afternoon and a rollout on Monday morning. My efforts were never taken for granted. They were always recognized. I’ve had the privilege of working for and with quite a few people like that at Kronos, including the guy in the corner office who often asks employees at every level, “Hey, how’s it going?” Then stays there to hear the answer and invest his time in conversation. Maybe that’s the secret to our success at Kronos. Mutual respect.
I got home tonight in the dark joke of dwindling daylight. I scraped useless flyers and political ads from my non-virtual mailbox. There was one small envelope worth opening. The blue, cursive note read:
You’re a good man, an excellent father and grandfather.
We have done a lot of quality work together.
I will miss you.
I’ll miss you too. You let me know if you ever have a wall that needs running through.