Hello and good day!
Stevey Correia was the son of a Portuguese fisherman. He loved sports and he couldn't stay awake during our high school English class.
Every afternoon during fifth period, right after lunch, he sat bleary eyed and tried to fight off the nods. But once the nods have you, fighting is futile.
I sat next to him in the back row and watched him every day.
Our teacher was an older British woman. She spent most of the class behind a podium, reading John Donne, Shakespeare, or Dickens out loud in her soothing English accent.
The class was in a bungalow on the very perimeter of campus. From the window behind us, we had a view of the neighborhood. We saw palm trees blowing in the wind and clear blue skies. We saw neighborhood people out walking their dogs, smiling, a refreshing breeze coming off the bay and blowing in their faces.
Our English teacher was not a bad person, God bless her.
I like Shakespeare, John Donne, and Dickens now.
But as a teenager, during fifth period, in San Diego, looking out the window at free people walking their dogs in the sun?
John Donne was torture.
To pass the time and not fall asleep myself, I watched Stevey Correia.
The professor was up front reading.
Stevey's head was wobbling around. His eyes drooped. Gravity pulled on the weight of his cranium and just when it looked as if he would crash down on his desk, he shook out of it and sat up straight again.
There was fight in him yet.
The professor continued reading in her lovely relaxing voice.
"No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were:
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were.
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for ----
Steven Correia! Steven! You wake up this instant young man!"
Stevey collapsed halfway through the reading and was resting with his head snuggled sideways on curled together arms.
When we got our report cards at the end of the year, Stevey showed me his D in English. I got a C, mostly because I managed to stay awake by watching him.
Most of his report card showed C's and D's, except for one class in which he earned an A.
His elective was the school newspaper.
Stevey was a short, scrawny, and terribly uncoordinated kid. He had pale white skin and shaggy thick black hair. Nobody ever chose him in a game of pickup basketball.
It didn't matter to Stevey though, because he preferred to watch basketball anyhow, or any sport for that matter. He was equipment manager for several of our sports teams.
He obsessively read Sports Illustrated and knew cold the stats of every well-known professional athlete. He was always up to date on the standings of every team in every league in every sport. And he wrote sports reporting for the school newspaper.
In general, a school newspaper isn't something too exciting for the studentry. This was especially the case for me and my stoner buddies who didn't have much school spirit in the first place. Yet, all of us read Stevey's columns hot off the press.
They were fun and lively and enthusiastic. We all knew how much Stevey loved sports and that added to the allure.
We found out that the girls' volleyball coach took a trip to Italy over the summer.
We learned that our star point guard came from a single-family home and loved his mother dearly for raising him on her own.
One of our pitchers threw a no hitter and was planning to enter the professional baseball draft.
Stevey Correia was a minor celebrity at our school.
I read every single thing he ever wrote.
He even landed himself a nice and pretty girlfriend who he dated for a long time and ended up marrying.
Despite his sub 2.0 grade point average, Stevey went to college. He studied sports journalism.
I ran into him at a wedding 8 or 9 years after graduation. We sat at the same table, and he told me about his life.
He had a job at a newspaper doing sports reporting. He traveled the country, attending all the big sporting events.He was living his dream.
I got to thinking about this because I came across a Venezuelan restaurant yesterday. We have two Venezuelans working for us here at Fortunato Chocolate.
l like Venezuelan food.
I've never seen a Venezuelan restaurant in the US before, and I wouldn't guess that the American palate would love Venezuelan cuisine.
There was a line out the door at this place though. The most interesting part is that the location used to belong to a sleepy Greek restaurant that wasn't run by Greeks.
I ate in the Greek restaurant once and vowed never to go back because the care and effort were far too lackluster for my liking.
I stuck my head inside the Venezuelan restaurant, and it was a party in there.
Salsa music on the speaker. Venezuelans behind the counter speaking their fast Caribbean Spanish.
Whoever runs the place actually cares about what they are doing, and their care is a magnet.
You know this old saying, don't you?
Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
This is one of the most important lessons that I've learned in business.
You can have a million recipes in a cookbook, and you can cook each one to spec.
But if there is no love and no energy in your food, you'll have a hard time getting people fired up about your restaurant.
Same with old Stevey and his writing.
He loved sports with all his heart, and we wanted to read what he had to say it.
Here are two takeaways.
First, in choosing service providers, you are much more likely to get thrilling results if you choose somebody who loves what they do.
Second, if you need to attract people to a business, project, or cause, you'd better choose something that means the world to you.
That's how we feel about our chocolate business, and it has worked out well.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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