With the recent passing of Michael Jackson, all the media hysteria and hype, it kind of makes you wonder who our heroes are.
Jackson was certainly a talented and creative performer. Apparently he was a very kind and giving person as well. And yet we've all been witness to his self-destructive tendencies and over-the-top behavior over the past few years.
But a hero? Well, not to me.
Yesterday, I went to a memorial service, a celebration of life, for someone I didn't know very well. My wife and I had spent some time with him and his wife socially over the past year. He passed away after battling cancer for seven years.
His name was Larry Dandridge. As his family, co-workers and neighbors shared about Larry's life, I realized that it's ordinary (but extraordinary) people like him who are the true heros.
Born in South Africa, raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he moved to the U.S. about 30 years ago. He got a degree in electrical engineering and moved to the Bay Area.
His first boss liked him so much that he invited Larry to become his roommate. Then he introduced Larry to his sister, Mary, whom he eventually married. He spoke of a long and warm relationship with Larry and how much he appreciated his kindness.
Larry's brother and sister also spoke. They related stories of a man who was full of life fun, and intelligence. The stories brought both laugher and tears (such as when he brewed cherry wine as a young teenager that was as thick as syrup).
Here was a man, only 59, who had lived a very full and complete life. His family and friends were were the recipients of much joy and kindness. His neighbors in Boulder Creek loved him for his community spirit and his yearly "End of Summer" parties.
In the time I knew Larry he was in the final year of terminal cancer yet he didn't complain once. He always had a warm smile and sly sense of humor.
One of his co-workers, emphasized that Larry was, above all, a "class act." It seems everyone he had touched in his life was a better person because of it. I only wish I had known him better.
This celebration of Larry's life was a reminder that true heros are ordinary people who make the very best of life and do their best to make life better for others.
Larry will remain an inspiration to me. He will remind me to be kinder and more patient, to be more creative and involved with my family. Larry's example will even impact my business.
The More Clients Bottom Line: Do you have a hero, a Larry, in your life? What have you learned from him or her? What can they teach you? How can their contribution impact the contribution you make?
Who are your heroes and how have they impacted your life? Please share on the More Clients Blog. Just click on the comments link.