The BIG Apple – Too Big for this Southern Boy

I’m writing today’s blog from my favorite “Purposeful Place” — Jump Off Rock. (see page 211 of LIFE ON PURPOSE: Six Passages to an Inspired Life for more on Purposeful Places) It’s at the top of Laurel Mountain and whenever I come here, I feel like I’m sitting at the peak of the roof of the world.

This morning I wrote down in my schedule to come here to Jump Off Rock to have a meeting with Life On Purpose Institute’s CEO. For those of you new to this blog and to Life On Purpose, that stands for my Cosmic Enlightened Officer, who many refer to as God. It’s like I’ve come to the penthouse offices with incredible views that expand over 3 different states and layers upon layers of blue mountains.

I’ve come to debrief my recent 5 day trip to New York and Book Expo America. What contrast between the concrete world of New York and the natural rock of my North Carolina home. I’ll be sharing about my experiences in New York, my take on the book expo, and where it all will be taking me as I continue the first month of the official release of my new book.

Today, I want to share a small incident that happened towards the end of my trip; one that touched me deeply. On Sunday, I had an early evening flight out to Greenville SC, one of the airports I use whenever I come down from “The Rock”. The book expo was winding down so after a last visit to the Javitts Center where it was held, I decided to take in a final Broadway Play. Since I was going to buy my ticket at the half off ticket office that only takes checks, I counted my cash carefully to be sure I’d have enough for the day including getting myself to the airport afterwards, but somehow I either miscalculated or lost some money, resulting in being a bit short on the estimated $25-$30 I’d need for the taxi.

I thought about getting a cash advance on a credit card, but didn’t know my PIN and couldn’t convince one of the hotels in the area to complete the transaction. But then I checked with one of the taxi drivers in line out front of the ticket office who informed me that some of the cab drivers took credit cards and I should just ask the doorman at the hotel to round one up for me. Reassured, I went off to see A Chorus Line.

When I walked out of the theatre around 5 pm, I had less than 2 hours to make my 6:45 flight leaving Leguadia, and it was raining. Not good. I walked up the street to the Hampton Inn where I was storing my bags, where two bellmen fought over getting my bags for me. Their mood changed dramatically though when I said I needed a cab that took credit card. Suddenly, I was a deadbeat without any money and the effort to help me hail a cab was minimal.

Now, I was beginning to get nervous that I’d miss my flight and end up spending another night in New York. So, I asked the bellman about shuttle service. He informed me that the concierge could help me with that and that yes, they shuttle service would take a credit card. I walked over to the concierge who was helping a lady. After listening for a couple of minutes to their conversation and realizing she was making arrangements for an event several days in the future, in my most polite Southern manner, interrupted and explained my plight. Both the concierge and the lady were very understanding, but the concierge informed me that the shuttle service wouldn’t be able to respond as quickly as I needed them.

“You could take a private car,” he suggested. Though I wasn’t excited about the $69 charge to my credit card, I knew it was a better choice then spending another night in NYC, a possibility that was looking less appealing but more likely by the minute. (It was now 5:20) So I accepted only to find out that all the private cars were in use due to the rain. I stood there in silence for a couple of moments, trying to think whatever I could possibly do, when the concierge reached into his pocket and pulled out his money clip. Peeling off two crisp twenty dollar bills, he said, “Here you go. This will get you to the airport.”

I stood there stunned. This man didn’t know me from Adam but there he was offering to pay for my cab ride. I thanked him profusely as I wrote him a check, even though he told me several times it was not necessary. “You’ve restored my faith in my fellow man and in New Yorkers,” I replied. “The least I can do is write you a check.” I believe he said his name is Ramon. So, if you’re ever in New York around 8th Avenue and 51st Street, you might stroll into the Hampton Inn and meet someone who is, in my book, a living saint, who reached out a was willing to help out a stranger during his time of need. Thanks, Ramon. I’ll be sure to put a good word in for you with my CEO today.