For years while teaching psychology, giving talks at various places or during sessions with clients I have told the story of a man who changed my life almost 17 years ago when he delivered a pizza to my door. He carried himself with such joy, purpose and passion that it taught me the greatest lesson about making a difference with your life. I have rarely felt as inspired or touched by such a brief encounter with another human being. And his only real obligation was to deliver my pizza. But I knew in the depths of my soul he had delivered to my door, so much more. He inspired me to be joyful no matter what I was doing. He taught me to see beyond my title or role and instead be defined by my outlook and attitude. So I talked about him for years. I have told the story of all that he taught me hundreds of times. Most recently it was to a client in my private practice office. Trying to relay the message that our worth does not come from our education or occupation but instead from a deeper more personal place. This time the listener looked up knowingly as I talked about how that man changed me all those years ago with his genuine smile, kind words and obvious joy for life. She looked inquisitive instead of inspired which is my usual intent of the story. She left our visit without responding much but noticeably pondering the message within.
She returned to my office two weeks later with this picture asking "Is this the man from your pizza delivery story?" I got tears in my eyes when I looked at this precious face, the subject of a story I have told for so long. This is the man that taught me that it doesn't matter what occupation you have in your life. What matters is who you are while doing it! Apparently for 22 years he has been delivering joy, kindness, compassion, enthusiasm, inspiration, smiles, and Oh pizza! She recognized the joy that I spoke of. The excellence I talked about resonated in her memory. It was evident she had similar experiences but had never put it into words until she heard mine. I didn't describe him physically so she wasn't certain she had encountered the same person. Between her visits with me she ordered several pizza's wanting to get the photo to see if she was correct. When she did, she told him the story and asked permission to take his picture. According to her, he seemed genuinely surprised that I had been talking about a pizza delivery that occurred almost 2 decades ago. But I was. I still am. Because that's what you do when you are inspired.