Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What's Your Excuse?

A few months ago I visited the beautiful town of Keene, New Hampshire.  If you have never been there, I highly suggest getting it on your bucket list.   Keene is a beautiful place of about 25,000 residents located on the western side of New Hampshire. I don’t think I have ever visited a town where I was more impressed.

The town is quaint.  The people are nice.  They quickly open their arms to southern talking guys like me.  I noticed that from the receptionist at the hotel.  I noticed it at the local restaurant where I had breakfast.  I noticed it from the guy who worked for the city I stopped on the street to ask a few questions about his incredible town.

I also noticed it at the local funeral home I visited.

If you walk in a place in New England and you are met at the door by a gal from Jackson, TN, she pretty much has your undivided attention.

As you might imagine, my first question was how in the world did a girl from Tennessee end up living and working in New Hampshire?

She begin telling me her story.  She graduated from mortuary college in Nashville and was having a difficult time finding a job.  She had put her resume out and was frustrated that nobody would hire her.  Although she graduated at the top of her class. she essentially gave up.  She decided she had made a huge mistake thinking she could enter the funeral profession.  She sadly began to look for other ways to make a living.

Out of the clear blue Cassandra got a call from Bob Diluzio in Keene.  He had received her resume and a strong recommendation from a friend in the industry over the telephone.  Bob flew Cassandra to New Hampshire to meet her and for her to meet them.

There was one small item that Bob’s friend had not mentioned.  And Cassandra never mentioned it to me when she was telling me her story.

Cassandra is blind.

Bob’s first response was a feeling of devastation.  He had pretty much offered a job to someone to work as a funeral director and embalmer in his funeral home who was blind.  What is the world should he do?

Well Bob proved my point about the special people in Keene, NH.  He and his wife, Linda,  hired her and they took her under their wing.  The blind girl from the little town between Nashville and Memphis became not only their employee - but became like one of their children.

Cassandra has done well.   In fact she has done really well.

She can do anything any other licensed person in this industry can do - except drive.  But licensed drivers are everywhere.  Bob and LInda invested their lives in her and the investment has payed off.  The dividends are now coming in.

Cassandra is the president of the state blind association.  She has created relationships with people Bob and Linda could have never reached.

Bob and Linda and their staff welcomed her and trained her.  The special community of Keene welcomed her with open arms.  The local ambulance service of some 35 employees really welcomed her.  She cooks Thanksgiving dinner for them every year.

She took me on a tour of their facility, walked in every room, pointed out things in the room and gave me a lesson in the history of the funeral home.

The most interesting and impressive part to me was she never mentioned she was blind.  Not one time.  She simply does not feel sorry for herself.

Cassandra has chosen not to use her blindness as an excuse.

I was complaining for not getting enough sleep last night.

By the way, what’s your excuse?

No comments: