The phone rings and it’s one of my ultra running clients – but it’s an unscheduled call and that’s highly unusual. Curiosity builds and after the usual greeting there’s this:
‘…But I’m not calling as your client – I’m calling on behalf of the company I work for…’
‘Very expectant pause.
‘We want to give you some money…’
‘For your prison work…’
I just sat and listened almost in shock as A explained the why and how of it all.
Short version and I’ll paraphrase:
A‘s been talking and they’ve been following my stuff.
They get the whole Problem-Solution-Mission thing.
They’ve had a ring-side seat on how my stuff can work as A has progressed through more and more outrageous ultra running adventures and (so far) emerged smiling.
They can’t believe I’m still trying to make this thing fly – but they believe that I could if given the sniff of a chance.
They wanna give me that sniff.
And no strings.
There’s an enforced pause while I transition from incoherence to coherence – then realize that my vision has gone a bit blearly and my eyes are tickling.
That’s reassuring: I still have feelings then…
A lays out the details while clearly also grinning like a loon on the other end:
They’d like to give me £--- a month.
For 12 months.
If that’s OK.
‘And Andy – no strings, really….’
‘If that’s OK?’ Are you f***in’ kidding me??!
A deeper dig into the ‘why?’ come in the follow up email:
Here at Kebbell we are aware we live in a very privileged world. We build fabulous houses, sell to discerning purchasers and live in a wealthy part of the country. We have no idea what has happened in the lives of inmates for them to have ended up in the penal system. Deprivation, mental health issues, abuse, drugs; not a world we ever come into contact with. We do know, however, that there must be something amiss with the current rehabilitation process as so many prisoners re-offend within a year of release.
You have helped and continue to help me achieve extraordinary things, making the extraordinary ordinary. You have completed some of the most brutal endurance events and therefore if you feel as passionate as you do that you can help improve reoffending rates and improve a system that clearly does not work then I believe you will succeed. I am in awe of what you’re doing. But being self-employed I can only guess how time consuming and expensive your commitment is.
It’s a gift – well, it’s actually many things truth be told – but let’s keep it simple for now.
Then I remember that there’s some stuff I’ve figured out about gifts, and it’s this:
We’ll all get gifts in this life.
Some we’ll recognize – some we won't.
Some will be expected – some will not.
And some we won't realize are gifts until much much later.
There’s one rule about gifts and it’s this: Take the gift, look the giver in the eye and say thank you.
Thank you Kebbell
Now for this kinda thing to happen once is jaw-dropping enough…but a few days earlier I’d had something as mandible-gaping from a former client. Again, I’m paraphrasing but the gist was this:
‘Andy, we’re going to a big fund raiser in London for a charity that does some similar work to yours. We know some people etc…We’ll get you a ticket and we can probably work you an intro to the CEO. There could be some synergy between the two of you – and there’ll be some big hitters there. We’ll get you in the door but you need to do the rest – go sharpen your pitch, my lad!’
So once I picked myself up from the floor I have indeed been sharpening – ‘cos on Monday night I’ll be at the Key4Life Gala Dinner 2019in my best bib and tucker because someone else decided they could, and they should – so they did.