“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
Almost twenty years ago, I began a speciality coffee business. This was when gourmet coffee was just on the cusp of becoming something really big.
My little coffeehouse was called “Cappuccino City.” It quickly established itself as the hip place to be and I thoroughly enjoyed being a small business owner. I made friends during that time that I still have to this day.
One of my customers was a stand out. His name was Joe. My nickname is Jo. Catch the catch? He’d come in and say “Hi Jo!” and I’d say “Hi Joe!”. We’d chat a few minutes and then he’d be on his way.
Years later, after I sold the coffee house, I needed some financial work done and I saw his ad in a local publication. I called him and said “Joe, do you remember me?” He said, “Of course!” Turns out his business was right down the road from my house.
So we became business acquaintances, but more. Joe was my cheerleader, always encouraging me to ask for more money (!) from my jobs and making me feel so good about myself that I’d leave his office practically on Cloud Nine.
Soon, after years of driving the parkway into Pittsburgh, I grew weary. I was looking for opportunities close to home. I had my eye on Joe, just in case he would need me.
I let him know it at one of my visits. Just an “if you ever need someone, please keep me in mind” pitch. And then one day, when it seemed I couldn’t take another traffic jam, I happened to call him about something. He said his long time admin had left. I asked him if I could interview for the job.
He said to come down and meet with his lead person. She and I went to lunch and the rest is history.
So it was with a heavy heart that I left Joe last month, after barely hitting my two year mark. As you may remember, I needed to spend more time with Mom. But I consider every minute I spent with Joe worth it. Here are some great bits of wisdom I learned from him:
1. You develop confidence when you figure things out for yourself.
2. Pizza with pepperoni that is baked a little longer tastes really good.
3. When someone puts a stop to something, it’s called a “kibosh”.
4. There is no substitute for personal attention to a client.
5. Don’t get something new until the old one breaks. 🙂
I like to think I taught Joe a few things myself. He loved the Greek word “Fuss-a-ria” which means to cause a big fuss. Once Joe learned this word, it became a part of his dictionary. (and I love the word “Kibosh!”) He loved other things Greek too. I took him to my church during our food festival and introduced him to some great Greek food. Hopefully, I taught him some other wisdom filled lessons; some he needed and some he probably didn’t want – like a crash course on menopausal women! In return, he believed in me and my capabilities. He had confidence in me when sometimes I did not have it myself.
I believe in my heart that even though my time with Joe was short, it had a divine purpose. I learned many new things that could be of great benefit someday. Sometimes even the shortest experiences have the longest impressions.
Have you ever met someone you feel had a divine purpose in your life?