When a story begins, "It was a dark and stormy night. . . " you know it's going to be good.
We were looking over the menu at The Kitchen in downtown Denver after a brief and rather bumpy round of introductions. I could see the passion in his eyes as he started to tell me the tale. I'd been looking forward to hearing the story of Chuck for weeks.
"I was driving down on a south Florida highway in the pouring rain..." he went on. Having lived in Florida myself for several years, I knew just the kind of rain he was talking about. Rain that comes down in volatile, horizontal waves, like sheets on a clothesline, thrashing in the wind.
Our drinks arrived and he paused briefly to marvel at the colour of the Chardonnay. It was a stunning shade of coral.
Most of us would have driven on by with little more than a passing thought... "better him than me." But not my new friend. I was discovering, through that first conversation, the principals on which he's built his life. One is: if there's a way to change the world for the better, go for it. As such, when he glanced again at the man growing smaller in his rear view mirror, he knew he had to do something. So he pulled a U-turn and circled back around, pulling off the highway to help.
"...I heard the crying as soon as I opened the door. The man was cradling a tiny baby girl, trying his best to shelter her from the pounding rain within the folds of his soaking coat. She was inconsolable, and having just become a new father myself, my heart went out to these two strangers."