So this guy I just met jumped out of his car and ran down the street

So obviously I followed him

I was just a young brat working at Foot Locker at the time. Yup, Foot Locker. Anyway, one night I was planning on going to a concert with a friend. That morning a new assistant manager, Barry, started and we worked his first shift together. When I mentioned the concert to him he asked if he could join. “Of course!” I said. He also offered to drive which was handy given I didn’t have a car at the time. Barry was a gruff, soft-spoken black man who was new in town and seemed pretty friendly. He carried a quiet confidence about him. I presumed he had gotten that confidence from the United States Army and having served in Desert Storm. I found that pretty cool at the time.

When our shift was over the three of us piled into his 90’s Chevy Camero and started driving to the venue. Not five minutes into our drive Barry slammed on his brakes, turned on to a side street, opened up his car door and ran from the car. My friend and I were dumbfounded. We did not know what was going on until we saw where he was running. An elderly woman had fallen on the sidewalk and was on her hands and knees. We could tell she had fallen hard as she bled from her chin and nose onto the pavement. We quickly followed Barry over to help and by the time we caught up he was ready with our orders, “Rob call 911 and both of you check around the corner for this address.” Barry had the lady’s frail body in his arms and carried her to his car. I made the call and arranged for paramedics to come, but when we got to the corner we noticed there was no such address. There was just an empty parking lot. When we returned and started to tell Barry what we found, he told us she thought it was 1946. Barry wrapped her up in his army fatigues he had in his trunk and waited for the paramedics to take over. It turned out she wandered away from her retirement home nearby.

As I watched Barry hand this fragile woman to the paramedics I remembered feeling incredibly impressed with what kind of person Barry was and consciously decided that I wanted a human like that in my life. We became fast friends and a few years later I told this story as his best man at his wedding.

We can aspire to be a lot of things. Healthy, wealthy, honest, a great spouse, parent, someone with integrity, but how hard do we really try? So many of us strategize on how to make money, but how many of us strategize on strengthening our resolve and loving our personal values? How many of us strive and even sacrifice to be the person we aspire to be?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
— Jim Rohn

I didn’t know this quote when I met Barry, but it certainly rings true to me today. Choose your friends wisely and make the effort to be the kind of person you admire.

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