A Story About A Dream That Came True
And the importance of reliable transportation
Let me take you back a couple of months to a balmy beautiful California summer evening. A couple of hundred people were gathered for a lovely outdoor dinner under the stars. The passed appetizers ranged from infused meatballs to cheese stuffed wontons and the California wine seemed ubiquitous. But this was no ordinary chef’s dinner. The chef was from a very nice local restaurant, but his sous chefs, prep chefs, servers, and other assistants were from a graduating class of people who were finding their way off the streets and into a new career. The mood was very upbeat. The tables were large and the meal was served family style. Just the right environment to get to know some new people around you.
My friend and I were sitting next to a couple that she happened to know, but I had never met before. As sometimes happens with me, the subject turned to retirement. The woman was struggling with hers. We talked about people like her last time. She liked her job and was worried about filling all of the voids leaving it was going to bring. Her husband listened intently, and drank his wine. Then, at some point, when he was ready, he jumped in with a story.
He told the story of taking his boys to the Sacramento Kings games as they were growing up. He had a very stressful career and a growing family to support and didn’t have a lot of time for hanging out, so these games were a way to bond with his kids - and probably blow off some steam screaming at the top of his lungs without getting arrested. At the time, he told his kids that he was going to get a job as an usher “one of these days” so he could go to as many Kings games as he wanted, for free. It seemed like a nice fairy tale for all of them.
Fast forward to our balmy summer night. He had just retired a few weeks prior and had already looked up how to become an usher at Golden 1 Center, where the Kings now play. In fact, he had gotten himself an interview. Before he went, he got his resume together - with all of the project management and people management experience highlighted as well as some of his volunteer work. He was ready. He put on his best sport coat and tie and headed out to the interview. When he was there, he realized they might be looking for something different. The first question they asked was whether he had reliable transportation. Why yes, yes he did. He put his resume away, talked about his love for the game and his wish back in the day to become an usher and he got the job. Nice going. It’s a gig where he gets to determine how much he works and which shows he works, and he gets to see games and headline entertainment for free while meeting most of Sacramento at some point, probably. Just a week into the job, he was beaming. And this is a guy that, from what I could tell, doesn’t really beam. His wife has a fantastic role model!
So, this is a story of two really nice aspects of retirement. First, heading out for an evening gathering is almost never usurped by deadlines or crises that are out of your control, so you get to meet the nicest people in the most interesting of places. Second, you get to make the dream you talked about with your kids a reality and become their hero, yet again, while you become the hero of your own life. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The Who played at Golden 1 a couple of weeks ago. I wondered if my new friend had been there for a free Who show. I bet he was. After all, he had very reliable transportation.
If you know somebody who is living the good life in The Third Act, please reply to this email! You/they don’t have to write up the story. Just give me the bones and together we’ll help a bunch of folks who aren’t so sure about taking the plunge into retirement.