I was asked to speak at a fundraising banquet recently. I had a pair of dark blue jeans on and one of my favorite T-shirts. Black, with white and gold lettering that read: People Greater Than Profit. As I approached the entrance, the man at the door stopped me, “Sir, this is a private event!” he exclaimed.
I responded, “I am one of the speakers.”
He proceeded to look at me from top to bottom, confused, and then rolled his eyes and waived me in. He couldn’t make out if I really belonged there. After entering, I was greeted warmly by the Director of the program. As we were discussing the program, another organizer walked up and said in a strange tone, with his faced turned towards the Director, “He is under dressed.” I smiled, introduced myself, wrapped him in a hug, and continued the conversation with the Director.
Guests continued entering the hall, in suits and ties, and some even fully dressed as if they were attending Cinderella’s ball! When they looked my way, their eyes fell directly on my shirt. I’m not going to lie, at that point I began questioning if I truly was underdressed. I even wondered if I should have borrowed a blazer from someone. As these questions ran through my head, my son and daughter, noticing my anxiety, reassured me, “Dad, your shirt is awesome!” That was all the confidence I needed.
When the Director signaled for me to start the program, I made my way to the stage and toward the podium. As I grabbed the microphone, I heard a voice scream out in excitement, “That shirt is awesome!” I looked down and one of the servers was staring up with a big glowing smile. He was reading what was written in white and gold: “People Greater than Profit”. “What does it mean?” he asked excitedly.
“It is a lifestyle philosophy,” I began explaining; “it means nothing is more important than human life. All else is material and temporary, even money. It means that human interest comes before self-interest.”
And the mic was still on…