Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thank you Lamar Hunt

I'm sure much will be written and said about the passing of Lamar Hunt as it is fitting and proper.

He was from a generation of incredible, genuine and humble people who did such great things. I think of people like Buck O'Neil and Mr. K in this group.

I didn't know Mr. Hunt but I did have one fleeting encounter him about 7 or 8 years ago. It was a quick intersection of our lives that no doubt is insignificant except that it had an impact on me and reminded me that we are all human even from what the world defines as the most and least of us in society.

I was a young businessman departing for trip from KCI. My intention was to grab a paper to read on the flight and I figured I had just enough time before getting to the gate. There was an older man in front of me wearing a trench coat also wanting to buy a newspaper except with some difficultly. I wasn't paying too much attention except that is was taking longer than it should and I was getting nervous about my flight. As the delay endured, I began to eavesdrop a bit on the situation. It seemed the gentleman had only a hundred dollar bill and the clerk didn't have change for that large a bill. She ran through the other options like do you have a debit card, or credit card and the obvious "don't you have anything smaller"? It seemed to go on for longer than it should but not in a confrontational way.

At this point, I am only looking at this man's back and the possibility of missing my flight. I quickly reached into my pocket and pulled out the fifty cents needed. I reached past the man and handed the change to the woman and said, "I'll get it for him today". It was then I noticed he was familiar but it didn't quite register at first. He looked me in the eye and with a simple and genuine thank you and nod of his head turned and headed to his gate.

The woman behind the counter leaned to me as I put my paper on the counter and said, "Do you know who that was?". I indicated that "yes, I believe that is Lamar Hunt and he is the last guy I ever thought I'd buy a newspaper".

Anyway, I made my purchase and headed off to the gate. Mr. Hunt had a reputation of not carrying any money but on this day he had a hunny in his pocket that wouldn't spend.

I reflect on it today as my brush with a great man. Humble enough to accept the very simple gesture of someone much smaller than him with gratitude and so, so much more.

God rest his soul and peace to his family during this time.

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