This week’s blog was supposed to be about a sales message that I think would have hit home for many of us, but a chance encounter with a driver in Kansas City has interrupted that message.  We’ll get to it another time.  I need to tell you about my new friend Abdul.

I was hustling off to a meeting when the Marriott bellman presented me with an option.  “Do you want to jump into a cab or limo?  This limo driver charges the same price as the cab.”  He didn’t have to ask me twice what my preference would be.  As I jumped into his limo I was greeted with a smile, a handshake, and what I would soon find out to be, an education of sorts.

I got lucky and got to meet my new friend Abdul.  Let me tell you about him.  He appreciates his life here.  He had to find a way to come to this country years ago.  In Bangladesh, his native country, they held a lottery for people who wanted to come to the United States.  It turns out Abdul had luck on his side and he was one of five hundred winners.  Over a million people entered that lottery.

He had to learn our language.  Unfortunately he didn’t speak a word of English when he arrived here.  It turns out Abdul learned our language rather quickly.  Then he learned four others while he was at it.

He had to find work, and like many who come to our country, the best fit was driving a cab.  Unfortunately that doesn’t pay very well, nor does it provide for a real future.  It turns out Abdul purchased a limo some years ago.  Then he purchased another… and then another.  Last week he purchased his eighth limo so all his drivers for the limo company he owns has a car.

Inspired?  I am, but it turns out Abdul doesn’t just inspire; he teaches.  He reminded me of an important lessons in the back of that limo when he told me the secret to his success.  In one word it’s “honesty.”  It turns out his father taught him that lesson.  There are no compromises, no hedging one’s bets, no justifying unethical behavior, and that means a slower assent to success.

Let’s pause there for a moment and consider this.  How many times do we take the high road in business or in life, become frustrated with how difficult and agonizingly slow that path can be, and than give way to temptation by looking for the easier road?

Now I’ll bet you want me to end this story with a feel good finish and tell you how wealthy my friend Abdul is.  He works hard every day, and drives one of his eight limos.  It turns out he is a very wealthy man, but he would define his wealth differently than we do.  As he put it, “I am able to put a roof over my family’s heads, feed my family”, and he gushes when he talks about putting his kids through college.  His wealth lies in the balance he has in his life, and the lessons he learned from his father, and his faith.

New lessons?  No.  But sometimes the easiest, and the oldest lessons are the lessons we need to be reminded of because they don’t count if we don’t adhere to them.  Honesty, integrity, faith, and making the most of every opportunity that we are given were reminded to me by way of a lottery winner named Abdul from Bangladesh.  Like I said, he is a very wealthy man.  He made me a wealthier man having the privilege of riding with him, not once, but three times.  It turns out that as Abdul firmly believes, if you adhere to the above-mentioned lessons, in the end, you’re a winner.

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