This is a story about Alex.
I love Alex. No, not in the biblical sense. First of all, he’s too masculine for me. I love him in a lot of other ways, though.
I love Alex so much, I’m not even using his real name. Nor the other character in this story.
But Alex is real.
Alex took good care of me once at a major sports event. He takes care of everybody.
Alex was the senior-most sales guy at, shall I say, mega sports property. It was the second to last day of this multi-week event. We were sitting in the shade, on a terrace overlooking the VIP hospitality village, with Grant who was heading up Sponsor Servicing. The beer was cold. Life was good.
Naturally the conversation touched on the event sponsors who, by the way, were people.
One-by-one, Grant lambasted just about every sponsor who came up. “He’s an idiot.” “She’s a nag.” “If they renew, they ought to fire him.”
At first I went along. But it became painful after 15 minutes. I hoped I wouldn’t offend Alex when I quipped at his colleague. “You don’t love your customers, do ya’, Grant?”
“Oh, come on, Jack,” Grant snickered back. “You believe all that management crap you read?”
“No. Just what I want to believe. And I’m in business for myself. I love my customers, imperfect though they are.”
“Exactly. You’re in business for yourself. Without them, you don’t survive. You’re just kissing ass in another form.”
I had no reason to defend myself to this negativity.
But Alex did. “You don’t either,” he shot at Grant. “You don’t survive without these sponsors. What do you think, this job is your birthright?”
Grant apparently believes that the best defense is a stupid offense. “Well, mate. You get us into these ridiculous contracts. You give everything to these sponsors, and you leave the headaches to me.” Grant tried to get me on his side with a wink.
“Headaches?” Alex laughed. “Look around you, mate. Life is good. And we’re here because of the sponsors. I’m with Jack. I love these sponsors. Yeah, they can be pains in the royal arse sometimes, but so is my daughter. And I love her.”
Grant took a swallow of beer. “Maybe I just to need to start reading those management books.”
Later that night, Alex was dancing like nobody was watching. With sponsors. With organizers. With anybody. Alex loves people.
Alex loves his customers.
Happy Valentines Day.