Charles was the first one to know that I got the job at the Life is Good Kids Foundation.
Following my final interview, he was sitting at his desk in the building’s main lobby and when he saw me walking out all smiles he asked:
“It went well?”
“Very well,” I said. “I nailed it. Even if I don’t get the job, which I really think I will, I couldn’t have done, what I just did, any better.”
“Well, I hope you’re right,” Charles added. “It would be lovely to see you again.”
On my first day he remembered me immediately.
“This is wonderful,” he said – walking over to the elevator to key me up to the 9th floor. “Now, I’ll get to see you always.”
For the first six months of my employment Charles met me every morning with a sweet disposition and authentic kindness. When I brought Briggs to work he asked him about his favorites books, TV shows, and games to play with Mom and Dad.
And when I went on leave, I was very open with my direct team on what was going on, but I never touched base with Charles…and to be honest, when I left the building that day in mid-September, I didn’t know how I’d ever find the strength to come back.
Thankfully, that strength was revealed to me overtime.
When I did return with a renewed sense of Self, purpose, and passion, Charles, once again, was the first to greet me.
He lit up.
“Oh, Amanda,” he said, “I was so worried. No one would tell where you were or why, you just stopped coming and it was awful not knowing.”
“I was sick,” I shared, “and the folks on the 9th floor are, and have been, absolutely amazing. They were just protecting my privacy. And, mostly, I’m just really grateful to be back and well again.”
“Me, too. Oh, Amanda, now this is a wonderful day. Just like the sign says, Life is Good.”
And then, as if no time had passed at all he keyed me up to the office and another Day 1 began.
This morning, Charles and I met in the lobby once again.
“Amanda, thank you so much for the gift. That was so nice of all of you.”
A colleague had suggested to the entire Company and Foundation that everyone pitch in a little something, so that we could show our appreciation for Charles with a thoughtful year-end gift.
I was happy and honored to contribute.
“Oh, Charles,” I replied, “of course, of course, of course…” And then, I said what I realized, I hadn’t yet said:
“I want to thank you for thinking about me while I was out. For always being so kind to me, and for having genuine concern for me.”
This is when my tears started to swell.
“Your kindness came to me at such a critical time and it continues to mean so much. So, thank you for that. Truly.”
And then Charles said something that he’s never said to me before – in the most familiar and loving voice – like that of my Papa’s:
“Oh, of course. I had to. Of course. I have to. Like your card says, this is the Life is Good family. This is family. And family doesn’t stop.”
He put his hand on my shoulder and I put mine on his hand.
“You’re right,” I told him.
And then, like every other joyful workday, Charles keyed me up to the 9th floor with a generous smile and a, “there you go, Lady – have a good one.”
And I did – much in part to Charles.