|Hiring officials have always required hard skill sets. In the past year, the term empathy has entered the conversation. I always wondered how one measured “empathy” in a candidate during a casual interview or on a resume. Is it through a conversation or just a gut reaction?
As someone who believes in the inherent good of man it is surprising how rarely we find someone who truly goes above and beyond to help their fellow travelers. When in an altruistic mood it’s much easier to write a check and feel good about it, rather than take the time to really make a difference in someone’s life.
We all need that good story right now and in a recent conversation with my colleague and friend Wayne Robinson…I found that story. Below is the story he recently shared with me.
There is a lesson to be learned here. We know that the actions and interactions we have really can make a difference. Look around and see who you might be able to lift up. If we all do our part imagine how much better things will be. Imagine the “Lydell’s” of the world and who they may lift up because of an act of empathy and kindness from someone in their past.
It is an honor to call Wayne Robinson a friend and a colleague.
Meetingjobs a Cadre Company
” Even if he doesn’t get this job, I know he’ll get something else. He just needed someone to listen to him and believe in him.”
Wayne M. Robinson CMP CMM | Assistant Vice President Events & Multimedia
After a year and a half of being in my house and away from any public transportation I found myself on a plane on July 15th. I flew to San Francisco for a site inspection. It was a daunting thought to jump on a plane and wear a mask next to people I did not know for the next 6 hours. Although I had spent my entire career getting on and off of airplanes, I felt like a fish out of water. But I had to go, and so I did.
On my second day at the hotel, and still on East coast time, I awoke at 4:30 a.m. and eventually ventured down to the lobby to grab a cup of coffee. The hotel was not operating on all cylinders and the café was not open yet. I decided to sit in the lobby and read the news on my phone and gather myself. I looked around and noticed a young man who looked no older than his late twenties writing on a notepad sitting across from me.
He seemed a bit out of sorts and a little disheveled. He greeted me with a smile and a nod, and we struck up a conversation. He excitedly told me he had a job interview scheduled at the hotel. He had decided to come and do some “homework” and get a better idea of what it would be like to work there.
He was pleasant and shared that he had attended City College of San Francisco before he had fallen on hard times. He was very positive about his upcoming interview and how getting back to work would change his life. He began to tell me about the conversation he had with the hiring manager.
I could tell it wasn’t a big job or a career move for him but rather a job to help him get on his feet. I was fascinated. After about an hour he confirmed what I had suspected. He was homeless. He was doing the best he could, but life was difficult. This job was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for him.
Although he did not ask me for any assistance my first inclination was to assume he would but there was a sincerity in him that I couldn’t walk away from so I decided I had to find a way to help. I said “Look, if you are serious about this job here’s a few questions you need to ask”. He wrote them down. I then shared some questions he would probably be asked. He wrote them down as well. Knowing that appearances are important, I asked him what he would be wearing on the interview. He told me he was wearing the best clothes he had which were on his back. He was homeless and did not have multiple sets of clothes. He did say that he would be clean and prepared.
Honestly I didn’t know what to say or do but I knew if he went to a job interview looking unkempt he would probably not get the chance to make the impression on anyone that he made on me. First impressions are lasting impressions. Especially in hospitality.
He was legit and I knew I had to do something. I thought for a moment and said to him, “I’ll be right back. Don’t move!” I went to my room to check my schedule. I knew I’d be finished with my meetings by early afternoon. I went back downstairs. He was waiting for me in the lobby. He was tall and lean. I used to be tall and lean, but that was a while ago so I had nothing that might fit him. I was thinking on my feet.
I told him I had some business to take care of and to meet me in the lobby at 3:00 p.m. I then asked him who was he interviewing with and the details of the job as he understood them. I wanted to be as sure as I could be of his honesty and I could read the sincerity in his eyes.
To make a long story short we met again at 3:00 p.m. We walked over to Macy’s and I bought him a few pairs of pants and a couple of shirts. I purchased a tie and a pair of shoes. We headed to Walgreen’s for a shave kit and a few personal items.
He couldn’t stop thanking me as tears welled up in his eyes. I said, “It’s no problem.” And it wasn’t. I said, “When you get that gig it’ll be your turn to do something for someone else in need”. I was in control of my emotions until he asked if I could dial up his grandmother. I gave him my phone after she answered and he said to her, “I met that Angel we had talked about today” At that point I lost it.
Lydell is his name. I am waiting for the call/text telling me he got the job. Even if he doesn’t get this job, I know he’ll get something else. He just needed someone to listen to him and believe in him. I felt much less stress on the flight home.