Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers—Not Really!
By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.
Imagine that you are 8 years old and you find a $20 bill on the ground. What would you do? I know what I would have done. With that much money I would have made a triple play on the town square in the little town I grew up in: 1) The Dime Store (Ben Franklin store) for comic books, baseball cards and candy, 2) Western Auto for fishing gear, and 3) the Dairy Queen for a treat! Not so for 8 year old Miles Eckert.
Miles found a $20 bill in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant while he and his family were headed in for dinner. When they entered the restaurant, he saw a man dressed in a military uniform. He quickly wrote the following on the $20 bill: “Dear Soldier, My Dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 bill in the lot when we got here. We like to pay if forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thanks for your service.” He handed the $20 bill to the soldier. Myles said it made him feel good.
Pretty soon, the story went viral on Facebook, resulting in an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, a CBS News story and a free trip to Legoland. Lt. Col. Frank Daily, the recipient of Myles altruistic act, received a free trip to Hawaii for he and his wife. The reaction was so strong with so many offers of gifts and cash, Myles and his Mom created Snowball Express (www.snowballexpress.org), an organization that provides free vacations for children of military parents who lost their lives in the line of duty. Jeremy Baumhower was so moved by the story that he initiated a crowdfunding campaign that raised $10,000 for Snowball Express. James Dondero’s company, Highland Capital Management, issued a $1 million challenge grant. According to their website, Snowball Express raised nearly $1.5 million in 2012 for their cause.
This true life example of a small good deed with gargantuan results is what leadership is all about.
Myles Eckert is a true leader. Like Myles, true leaders give first.
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