While the UPS tour I took earlier this week was incredible, informative and an all around good time, the most important thing I took away from the evening didn’t have anything to do about packages. In fact, it didn’t have anything to do with business at all.

Some of the people who joined us for the tour and dinner were from different sites from my company. It was a pleasure to meet them, talk about business, get to know each other’s processes and share best practices. At dinner, talk turned to family and other non-work related topics. I fielded a few questions on my family’s move out from southern California to Kentucky. My standard cookie cutter answers like a slower pace, more time with the family, back to basics, cheaper cost of living — things you have probably already read about and are familiar with throughout the history of this blog. I also shared my recent mantra “My company can get another me in a heartbeat, but my kids can’t get another dad”. That was when a fellow co-worker from one of the other sites shared a gift with me that I will never forget. It was in the form of a story.

My fellow co-worker began with,

“During one holiday period when I worked for a company that manufactured syringes and barrels, I was called in on Christmas Eve day around 11am because a piece of equipment had failed. I did not want to burden my staff with having to come in with it being Christmas Eve and all, so I tackled the problem myself.

At around 2pm I received a call from my daughter asking “Daddy, when are you coming home? It’s Christmas Eve.”

I replied, “I’ll be home soon, honey”.

Well, 2pm turned to 4pm, turned to 6pm. I received another call from my daughter.

She asked, “Daddy, it’s getting late and it’s Christmas Eve. Are you coming home soon?”

I assured her I wouldn’t be much longer.

As work goes, I didn’t get home until 11pm that night missing Christmas Eve. We did get to spend Christmas Day together but two days later she was killed in a car crash.”

My heart dropped to the floor as he continued on. He stated my mantra of “your kids can’t get another dad”, but added a corollary of “you can’t get another child“.

Qualifier: this is an interpretation of the story as told to me directly. Some of the details may not be exact but will not detract from the awesome message it conveys. He also gave me permission to share his amazing story. I thank him for his courage and strength to share his story and loss so others may gain.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net