Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kindness Always Comes Back in the Strangest of Ways

It was the mid 1990's and my younger sister had her college boyfriend visiting for a week. He was a pretty nice guy. We called him "the freshman" since my sister was a bit older and yes, he had just completed his first year of college. 

Now, in my family, there is somewhat of a history of semi-teasing any significant other that was foolish enough to visit during our college years. Once, when my older sister had a boyfriend visit, my father asked what this young man's five year plan was. Awkward silence ensued. It had become a tradition to visit Chevy's for group fajitas and to grill the visiting significant other on every topic imaginable. In fact, when a college girlfriend of mine came to visit for a week, our relationship didn't survive the Chevy's experience. Foolishly, she returned the following year for another Chevy's experience that backfired once more. You would think that I'd learn. 

So the freshman spent a week with our family. He did well enough to make it through the five year plan conversation. I found the freshman to be a really nice guy. We talked sports, college, and music. He was a big baseball fan and I shared stories of listening to the Atlanta Braves on the local radio station. When we talked music, he professed a new found love for the semi new act of the Beastie Boys. 

Now while I wasn't a huge Beastie Boys fan, I was enough of a supporter to have a few of their CDs and even some bootlegs in my collection. The freshman was wide eyed when I showed him the CDs. Knowing that I could always replace the CDs, I offered him my entire Beastie Boys collection. He at first refused my offer, but after I assured him that it was ok to accept the gift, he politely smiled and thanked me profusely for the CDs. And while he said that he'd get me back one day, I brushed the comment aside, knowing that most college relationships don't last and I'd probably never see or talk with him again. 

Fast forward twenty years.

It was the fall of 2008. I'm now married, a homeowner, and these past silly college days are way behind me. All of my sisters are now married as well. No one has heard from the freshman over the past two decades. 

Out of the blue, my younger sister receives an email. It was from the freshman. She forwarded the email to me. It's an offer for World Series tickets. 

Much to our surprise, the freshman had taken a job within Major League Baseball. He was now a Senior Executive and had the ability to send out playoff tickets to his friends... And in my case, the brother of a former college girlfriend. 

His email asked if I had any interest in playoff tickets. He mentioned the Beastie Boys CDs that were gifted two decades prior. I, of course, accepted and went to the 2008 World Series with my wife. For the second game, I flew up my father in law from San Diego and he attended his first World Series game alongside his daughter. It was a once in a lifetime experience. 

Except it wasn't. 

Fast forward four more years.

Despite trailing most of the season, the San Francisco Giants slip into the playoffs. They win a play-in game and then progress to the NLCS. This winning streak was unexpected; I didn't envision a possible return trip to the World Series this year. Nevertheless, I send the freshman an email, inquiring about playoff tickets. He responds that he'll look into the possibility. 

A few days later, the tickets arrive. Lower box seats to all three home games. My father-in-law drives up and attends game 3 and 4 with my wife, her third and fourth World Series games and possibly only her sixth or seventh Major League Baseball game ever. 

Tonight, I'm attending with my wife. In fact, I'm typing this blog during the game from my seats. I never expected a simple gift in the mid 90's would translate to World Series tickets decades in the future. 

The entire experience is a great reminder to treasure every relationship you have the opportunity to make. As I share in my yearly graduation speech for our 8th graders, there's no limit on one's friend quota. Be inclusive. Be kind. Be generous. 

And Go Giants. 

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