This past Monday, I was humbled by a man who is the epitome of perseverance. This was a gentleman who in his early 20’s was on top of the world. Married for only four months he was the youngest coach in baseball history at a college in NY when he was involved in a horrific car accident. He was on his way to a baseball scouting event when the driver put their car around a pole at 110mph. He was in a coma for 4 months and suffered from total paralysis. He has reconstructive surgery on the right side of his face and has scars to prove it. He recovered the best he could and continued coaching. He was asked not to participate in events that would show his face and was told that if he wanted to keep his job at the end of the season he would have to have a winning season. Keep in mind, he was injured on a scouting trip for this school and this is how they treated him. He had winning season and instead of extending his contract, he resigned. He had been greatly disrespected and was ready to move on to a team and program who wouldn’t judge him by his visible scars. Long story short, this gentleman wanted to get back into Automotive Sales (which he had done previously) but no one wanted to give him a chance, mostly because of his appearance.
My work colleague found him and we interviewed him Monday. This guy has a ton of potential, and when asked what his biggest weakness was he said that it had been overcoming the accident, those that judged him and those who were unwilling to give him a chance. It was hard overcoming rejection because of something he couldn’t have prevented in his past. He even told us that he had walked into another dealership hoping for an opportunity to sell, but was rather confronted with the hurtful words of “fatty”, “snaggle-tooth” and “lazy eye.” All of these issues were a result of the accident and were by no means by choice. My heart aches for this gentleman. He made the best of his situation and persevered while constantly being shut down and ridiculed for his appearance.
The biggest lesson we can take from a gentleman like this is to never ever give upand to never judge a book by its cover. This guy has his PH.D, is an author who has had several plays produced and runs a successful side business all with these “so-called” disabilities and his appearance. This man is the epitome of perseverance and I’m truly humbled by him. One should never take life for granted or anything we have for granted, because as this gentleman learned first hand he lost a lot, but not everything. His wife (who he had only been married to for four months prior to the accident) has stuck with him through it all and they have two children and are truly happy. Needless to say, we are willing to give him a shot. When seeing someone on the street that may appear different, make sure not to stare or make them feel different. Before you judge, take time to learn their story.