Sometimes you know the right thing to do, sometimes you find out the right thing to do, and other times it’s suggested. No matter how you come to it, “the right thing is the right thing; even if nobody else is doing it”; or so Ghandi says.
James went to a small trade show and entered to win 2 tickets to the Super Bowl that was going on in Tampa. Being that he was a Tampa native, seeing the big game in his home town sounded great. Plus he could practically walk to the stadium. A little background on James – He loves football. He has followed his local Bucs since they came onto the scene back when he was a kid. He’d gone to 5 super Bowls previously including the big Bucs win in San Diego. His life was lived around Football season, and his wife and kids had to decide whether they wanted to hang out with him and Football, or if they wanted to do something else without him. To win these tickets, would be another framed pair of tickets and unbelievable Super Bowl weekend to set up above his mahogany desk.
When he won the tickets, I was the first to receive an e-mail. I sent back my congratulations, but then added a post script – “What if there’s a little kid out there who has never been to a Super Bowl, and probably never will. Maybe there’s a poor person who would love to go, but will never ever get such an opportunity. Wouldn’t those tickets be better used by them?” That was it.
This is the tale he told me 3 days later:
I left the meeting at the Holiday Inn and walked to the parking lot across the street. As I stood there fumbling with my keys and cell phone, I heard a small voice say, “But why can’t we Dad? It’s right here.” When I looked up, I saw a young boy pointing to Raymond James Stadium draped in Super Bowl regalia. The boy was dressed in “Steelers” from head to toe. He stood at the bus stop with his father, a man who had seen better days and had looked a lot less tired in his past.
The father explained, “We’re waiting for the bus. See all the people in the cars; they might have the ability to go to the Super Bowl. But us? We don’t even have enough money to get a car, let alone go to the Super Bowl.” The little child lamented that it was “their” team. How could they not go to the Super Bowl when “their” team was playing?
James looked directly in my eyes at this point of the story and laughed. “It’s like they stepped right out of your e-mail damn it.” were his exact words. The light turned green, Jim stayed on the corner and listened to the son try to persuade his father in vain. When the father finally couldn’t take the pain of saying No any longer, he sternly told his Steelers clad son, “We can’t go to the Super Bowl. Mom left and we have no money,” James just couldn’t take it. He reached into his jacket pocket and handed the man 2 pieces of cardboard that made the boy jump and scream and yell, and made the man forget the bus that drove pass them. James’ only comment was, “Yes you can.”
So, when the cameras panned the crowd, there was a Steelers clad little boy and his father that were close enough to hit one of the Steelers with a Styrofoam cup, because James knew it was the right thing to do.