I want to start off with the fact that I have an odd fascination with t-shirts. Especially ones that make people think, smile, or laugh. It is like being a walking billboard and changing people’s day for the good of the world, not the poorly constructed lives they may be living. That is a very cool feeling. I was in San Francisco for a conference speaking on a dry subject and dreading the fact that, I do in fact suck at public speaking. It’s all good, I am not that great of a writer either, but at least I am not judged as much on that most of the time that is. Anyway, I digress to the shirts. I have quite the collection as you see in the photo below this paragraph and most of them are either recruiting or bar related, yet some are more than that, and that is what this little story is about.
After any conferences that I attend, I usually stay an extra day to see the sites of the city I am in as I am often shuttled there by the company throwing the gig and its, well, a perk of the fact that you are rarely if ever, paid for speaking. So, since I have free travel, I am open to paying for one extra night. After the conference, I walked the streets of San Francisco wearing a shirt that I think I need to wear more often than I have in the past as the reaction was one that I have rarely seen given the emotion I saw in people over a 48 hour period. Do not shame me, please; although I had many shirts in my line up, I wore this one over two days.
There were three encounters which stood out, as they were people who were verbal with me. Not the smile or head nod of adoration of the words on the shirt, but the ones that decided that it spoke to them so much that they had to be verbal to a total stranger, and that in this day and age is sadly brave. In my best law and order voice, I say, “These are their stories.”
The first encounter and the first time I realized that a small phrase could wield such power was the second morning of the conference. I had been working on job orders and sourcing online from my room and missed breakfast. Needing a coffee and a scone, I ran down the street to purchase some fuel for the day. There was a young girl behind the counter who turned to look at me and ask for my order she looked at my shirt and I saw her eyes reading the words printed on my garment. I did the slide you do to the pickup counter to receive my goods and looked down at my phone. When I looked up there, she was, with my coffee and scone with a smile handing them to me. On the cup was a heart and instead of my name the words I believe. No words needed to be said as I saw her waiting for the acknowledgment of what was written. They were unneeded as I began to learn there is, Good in the World.
The second was the last night of the conference and a good time was had by all. The speakers and many of the attendees go out in the evenings, and it seems that karaoke has become that an essential part of a good time and I have to say I would prefer to make a fool of myself in front of strangers as opposed to peers. We sang songs of passion and conviction, love and loss, and pure stupidity. There was a moment that I had to step off the stage as the streams were crossing with the mic’s and causing feedback and there I was in the crowd of strangers feeling the music and let’s face it the alcohol had a part in this. Finally, two men and two women of different descents waved me over to their table. One of them, containing his emotion while wincing said to me, “good voice man, but a better shirt, respect!” They all shook their heads in agreement and I, being me, opened my hand, and we shook, fist bumped, and there it was, Good in the World.
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The third and to me, the most critical encounter of my trip down learning the power of what one person can bring to the world was my last day in town. It was a gorgeous day, and I made my way down to the piers, the place I loved to stroll as a kid with one of my best friends back when I would visit the city. I ran in two ladies that I had not seen by total happenstance as one had just moved to SFO and the other being her best friend and never been to the west coast came to see her. The world indeed is small my friends. We ventured to Hyde street and the famous pub The Buena Vista that sells Irish coffee. After hugs and snuggles, we said goodbye, and they were on their way to life. I wandered outside and headed towards the park to take a photo of the grand golden gate bridge when I received a tap on my shoulder. It was an older man, older than me and behind him, I saw what I learned was his wife her face contorted clutching her purse. He said to me while pointing at my shirt, “Never stop believing that!” At that moment I opened my arms, and we hugged this stranger and me for there is, Good in the World.