Yesterday evening RE/MAX Ocean Realty had their annual Christmas party. Over the past eleven years we’ve had some awesome parties because, whatever else you can say about a bunch of real estate agents, we know how to enjoy ourselves, especially when it involves free food and drink. But for me the occasion was bittersweet because my retirement date is fast approaching and I am sad to be leaving. I had hoped to get through the evening without tears but that was not to be. The owner of the company, John Stubbings, chose this occasion to say a few words about me. John lavished praise on me to the point of embarrassment, saying that I had done so much for the company and for him personally, following which the agents gave me a standing ovation. As the evening progressed, one agent after another came up to me and thanked me for everything I had done for them, telling me that they attribute their success in some way to the assistance I have provided over the years. To me, the assistance I provided was just part of my job; I was happy to help. But it became apparent to me that it meant much more than that to the people I helped.
One agent told me he was in a bad way when his marriage failed, and that I walked into his office and asked if he was OK and offered to listen if he needed to talk. He described it as the beginning of his being able to open up. Another associate reminded me how I had helped her learn Photoshop so she could manage her real estate web site. Several reminded me how I had patiently walked them through the decision to become a REMAX agent. Yet another reminded me how I had helped him study for his real estate exam. I had no idea. I really had no idea. I was astonished and humbled. And it really made me realize that we never know the effect we have on others. Even the most insignificant comment or a small act of kindness may have a life-changing effect upon someone. It makes me want to be a better person, to be careful what I say and how I say it and to always treat everyone with loving kindness. And I hope John Stubbings is reading this, because whatever I may have done for the company or for him personally has been returned to me tenfold through my association with him. I wouldn’t be the person I am today were it not for him.