Friday, January 16, 2009

A Ripple For The Ripple Guy

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of speaking to the Austin Contact Center Alliance's (ACCA) Annual Educator Luncheon. As I was nervously making small talk at the table I was seated at before I was introduced when a familiar face approached me. "Do you remember me?"

For a guy who meets literally thousands of people a year, this single question can bring instant fear of looking like a complete idiot for not immediately placing the person who has just approached you. I get to experience that fear at least a few times each month.

However that fear wasn't going to happen...not on this day, not with this fine young lady with the unforgettable smile. Of course I knew who it was. I instantly recognized my good friend Johanne Ibsen-Wolford. Though I am sorry to say it has been easily years since we last saw one another she looked exactly the same; wish I could say the same. I rose to give her a big bear hug and asked her what in the world she was doing there.

Johanne, a former Xerox colleague who believed in me early, early in my career said she has always kept track of me through my website and my mailing list but because of her travel schedule for work she never seemed to find herself in town when I was scheduled to speak somewhere. So when she realized she was going to be in town for my presentation to ACCA she said she absolutely had to come down to see me.

To say I was overwhelmed and completely humbled by seeing my old friend would be the understatement of the year. I was so absolutely honored that she would take the time and make the effort to see little 'ol me.

Any nervousness I had about my presentation to ACCA was suddenly gone. My mind wirled with how happy I was to see my old friend and just how special it was for her to come see me speak. As I spoke I could see her beaming with approval and the occassional head nod when she agreed with a point I made. Her simple presence there made me feel like a million bucks.

Later that day as I drove home I had this incredible sense of happiness in the pit of my stomach. It was the realization of just how big of an impact Johanne's attendance at the luncheon made on me. It meant the world to me and I was so humbled by the simple fact she took the time to honor me with her presence. The smile is still evident this morning as I write these words.

Thank you Johanne for always believing in me all these years. Thank you for coming to the luncheon yesterday and for listening to that kid you met all those years ago. I am completely honored that you would take the time to come out and see me. Your presence yesterday was a Ripple I am not soon to forget.

My only regret is I didn't think fast enough to get someone to snap a picture of us together again!

Thank you again my friend.

Ripple On!!!

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