When I was a college student, I worked part-time as a security guard at the Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. My main function was to operate the gate-house of the gated community. There were often functions at the clubhouse on Friday and Saturday nights, so our job was the most demanding on weekends. One Saturday night, a gentleman pulled up and said his name was Dale Brown and that he was going to the particular function at the clubhouse.
He didn't have to say his name for me to recognize him, since I had grown up watching LSU basketball. As I started to open the gate, I said something to the effect of My Dad and I have been fans of yours for a long time, Coach Brown. It's great to meet you.
I expected a Thank you at best, but his response surprised me.
"What's your name?"
"Well, it's great to meet you Barry. Thank you!" With that he drove away, and I called my dad as soon as there was a break in traffic.
--The story didn't end there.--
On busy weekend nights, when traffic was flooding out from parties and functions, we would sometimes leave the exit gate lifted, rather than making each car come to a near halt before exiting. When the exit gate was in this position, it was very rare that anyone would stop-- unless they were upset about something.
Some two-to-three hours after meeting Coach Brown, a car stops in the exit lane. I walk over to the door, and Coach Brown has his window down. He says, "Have a good night, Barry."
Wow! Do you mean a 21-year-old security guard would be important enough for this world-renown basketball coach to stop and greet by name? Apparently so.
I was a Dale Brown fan before that night. Now I respect Coach Dale Brown. He taught me a valuable lesson that night. Everyone we cross paths with is far more important than we typically think. We should value people because people are valuable.