Curt and I have the kind of friendship that I wish everyone would be able to experience. It embodies the true meaning of partnership–trust, caring, risk-taking and all else that friendship could embrace in our hurried and harried lives.
Our friendship began many years ago. We met while attending different high schools, through competitive sports, and we had a mutual respect for each other’s athletic abilities. As the years progressed, we became the best of friends. Curt was best man in my wedding, and I was his a few years later when he married my sister’s roommate. He is also the godfather of my son, Nicholas. And yet the event that most exemplifies our partnership and solidified our friendship happened over 25 years ago, when we were young and in our carefree 20s.
Curt and I were attending a pool party at the local Swim and Racquet Club. He had just won the door prize, a beautiful new watch. We were walking to the car, joking about the party, and Curt turned to me and said, “Steve, you’ve had a few cocktails, buddy-maybe I should drive.” At first I thought he was joking, but since Curt is definitely the wiser of us, I respected his sober judgment. “Good idea,” I said, and handed him the keys.
Once I was settled in the passenger seat and Curt behind The wheel, he said, “I’m going to need your help because I’m not sure how to get to your house from here.”
“No problem,” I responded.
Curt started the car and we were off-not without the usual first-time shifting jerks and stalls, stops and starts. The next 10 miles seemed like a hundred as I prompted Curt with directions-left now, slow down, right pretty soon, speed up and so on. The important thing is that we got home safely that night.
Ten years later at my wedding, Curt brought tears to the eyes of 400 guests as he told the story of our partnership and how we drove home together that night. Why such a remarkable story? We’ve all, I hope, offered our keys when we knew we shouldn’t drive. But you see, my friend Curt is blind. He has been since birth and never sat behind the wheel of a car before that night.
Today, Curt is one of the top executives at General Motors in New York, and I travel around the country inspiring salespeople to form long-lasting partnerships and friendships with their clients. Our willingness to take risks and trust in each other continues to bring meaning and joy to the journey of friendship.
(the story was published in the ‘’chicken soup for the soul at work’)