Late 2009, I was about to graduate from high school, homeless.
I had been living out of a 2001 Honda Accord, attending my classes, and going to Cross Country/Track practice.
When my coach found out, he offered me a job with an old family friend. This family friend, I ended up discovering, was one of my coach’s father’s childhood friends. A friendship that had lasted over 50 years.
He was my first boss. The workplace was all family, they were all my coach’s extended family. It was a small insurance office, but it was my first real home. I truly feel like I was adopted there.
I don’t think Steve, my boss, knows how much it meant to me. I don’t think he understood exactly how awful my situation was or that I had crossed over from a place of giving up to a place of acceptance.
I’m fairly certain he would tell anybody he met about how many good things I have done for the company.
He’s one of the greatest things to have ever happened in my life. Before I got admitted to Berkeley, my four years working there saved me. I am what I am today because of someone’s blind faith and vouch.
When I was admitted to college and I had to leave, he took me to dinner with his wife to thank me.
He left me this card and a $5,000 check. At that time, that was all the money in the world.
He gave me a chance and saved my life. We still speak to this day, and I don’t think he realizes how much he has done for me.
Before I began working there, I was still finishing high school. Right as I finished high school, I immediately started working. I didn’t want to enjoy my summer. I wanted to make money and stop my family from going hungry. Before I graduated from school, my coach left me a letter, foreshadowing things to come:
These two people saved my life at a time when I was scared, confused, and alone. There was nobody around to rely on, and they stood up at a moment in my life when I didn’t know what was happening.
My coach gave me a direction and told me to run. Steve gave me a cadence and highlighted the importance of rhythm.
Those are lessons I’m still abiding by today.