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Offered by: Willy Strohmeier – Colorado Karate Club

You probably don’t know Mike, and that’s OK, I didn’t know him that well either. We met a handful of times at one of his jewelry stores where we recently discussed a business deal. One could say that Mike’s just a regular guy, aside from his ever-present smile, he looked just like you and me. But in fact, Mike’s just a little different.

As we came in to meet him, he smiled warmly and welcomed us behind the counter, around the store, and into his break room, where he sang the praises of his amazing coffee machine, and all the different types of brews he could concoct. He told us to ask him for any type of coffee, and so, he made us a couple of Espressos. We sat around the table and talked about business, family, life, etc. as if he had known us for years.

When we left Mike’s store we felt like we had just visited a good friend. He was so genuinely interested in who we are, do, plan for the future, etc.

Later, I thought about Mike, and how he treated us, plain strangers, and I wondered about what kind of feeling do I leave others after I meet them? How do I treat them, friends and strangers alike? Am I, even a little, like Mike?

Meditating upon this, I realize that the greatest poverty in our society is not material, but emotional. We are often poor in our relationships. While we post, message, and text all day, true relationships are built in simple places like at a coffee table, when someone actually takes the time to put the phone or computer down and dares to talk to us. Look you in the eye and ask: “How are you doing?” Generosity is giving of your greatest asset, YOUR TIME. Time to go visit someone who is lonely, time to talk to a friend who is feeling down. But mostly, time to listen to what others may want to or need to get off their chest…

Two days later, I received the most unfortunate call, that Mike was in a tragic accident, which in fact would cost him his life the following day. I was devastated, but at the same time wondered how this relative stranger had touched my life so deeply and in such a short time. But even in death, Mike was a generous man. Almost five years to the day from Mike’s demise, my family had been fortunate enough to have been the recipient of an organ transplant. And now, Mike, was bestowing the same gift of life to many other families in need.

At his wake, hundreds and hundreds of people filled the church, overflowing into the hallways to remember Mike. A young 44 year old gentleman who in his short time, obviously made a wonderful difference in the lives of many, including mine.

As for myself, I hope that I can be like Mike too. And if you and I ever meet, I’d say to you as well: “Be like Mike.”

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