My business trips are over for the year until October! I only travel about 3 times a year for work, but it’s always for at least a week at a time and it’s a lot of hard work setting up for a trade show, working the show, and then tearing down and packing up. The week usually flies by but I frequently find myself alone – on the plane or in the evenings after work which I don’t mind actually. One plus side to traveling is getting to meet new people who are also at the show or even the locals.
Locals, like cab drivers delivering me from the airport to my hotel, always ask if I am in town on business or pleasure, and I’ve always found it odd that their next question is how long am I staying, or when did I get here and when am I leaving. Almost every time!
Then they usually ask where I came from. Once I say St. Louis, they always want to talk about the weather or the Cardinals. You can now add Ferguson to the list due to recent events. Yep, I covered all three subjects with one cab driver. These conversations bore me because I’m not really making a connection with a person. I’m just filling the air between us and the time with words and meaningless chatter. As a writer, it can get very annoying. I’d rather just be quiet and look out the window.
At the actual show I usually meet new customers or customers who I previously only spoke to on the phone so it’s always fun to put a face with a voice although I’m horrible with names and probably won’t remember them next year.
Then I get to meet other vendors who stop by the booth or who are in the booth right next to us. And while in Orlando last week, that’s exactly what happened to me. A man from the neighboring booth, a company that sells chef apparel, came over to our booth to inquire about our pink ribbon merchandise. I told him our story and about how we donate a portion of the net proceeds of each sale. We talked about the “pink ribbon” market and how it’s sadly become quite the industry with little donations actually going to research.
Then he introduces himself as a two time cancer survivor – pancreatic and male breast cancer. His name is Harvey Singer and he runs a foundation called His Breast Cancer Awareness. He told me a bit about his story and his fight.
It was very inspiring to listen to his story. Sure, later on we talked a bit about Cardinals baseball, but not much. Harvey shared advice with me on switching my milk, chicken, and eggs to hormone-free organic produce because the hormones in these items are the same that cancer feeds off of. We talked about our pets. He even gave me a signed copy of his book at the end of the show.
And these are the types of connections I like to make. These are the names I remember. These are the stories I like to hear. Harvey has dedicated his life and energy to share his story with others in hopes of making male breast cancer a subject we aren’t afraid to discuss and that we won’t ignore. And I respect that. And that’s why I’m sharing this story with you now. Check out his website in the link above or watch the video. Hopefully you’ll be inspired too.
So what’s your story?