By Way of Thanks, This is for you Troy.

Whenever we talk about using social media inside the firewall (Enterprise 2.0) or even talk about people on the Internet using Facebook, making purchases, providing feedback and reviews on products and services, etc., one of the major issues that comes up is that of trust. I think about trust a lot, because it’s absolutely necessary for any virtual team to be able to work together. I’ve discussed this somewhat in other posts regarding the need for face-to-face meetings, etc.

So . . . trust is really important to me because it’s really important to the things I believe need to happen in business for us to move into the next phase shift (paradigm, level, incarnation, whatever you wish to call it). I’m bringing this up because I had the most extraordinary experience over this past weekend that I think is related to trust – at least, it makes me think of trust when I reflect on what happened. Surely, it shouldn’t have been so extraordinary and maybe some of you will disagree that it was out of the ordinary (which, after all, is what extraordinary means, hmmm?). So . . . let me share with you what was an incredible experience for me.

I was in San Francisco for my oldest daughter’s eight annual reunion of the families we traveled to China with to adopt our children. We were staying at the Hilton Union Square; a very nice and very crowded hotel. We were only there for Friday evening through Sunday – a grueling road trip from just North of Los Angeles and Friday night we were attending a dinner at the home of one of the families in our group who live near my old stomping ground of Haight-Ashbury (actually, that was back in 1967 and might be the setting for a few posts in the future).

We had just finished getting something from our car, which was parked on the 8th floor of one of the towers, and I was waiting for my wife with our children in the elevator vestibule. I knew she would be a moment and I had just sat down. My youngest was pretty wired and she started spinning around when she lost her balance, hitting her face right on the edge of the table between the two chairs my oldest and I were sitting in. She started crying immediately. I pulled her up from the floor and saw lots of blood on her teeth, gums, and lips. Just then my wife arrived and I left her holding our daughter while I went downstairs to see if there was a Doctor available in-house. I found a security guard, who came upstairs with us and immediately offered to give us a ride in the hotel limo to the ER at St. Francis Memorial.

When we arrived at the hospital and were almost immediately show into a room where both a Doctor and Nurse attended to my daughter, I suddenly realized I had left my iPad somewhere other than in the waiting room. As it turned out I had left it on the floor in that vestibule. In my haste to get my daughter to the ER, I set down the iPad and never thought about it until she was receiving the medical attention she needed. Now I had to fight the urge to panic, as I had become very attached to that device. As well, I hadn’t really done what I should have to secure my data and private information and all the possible ramifications were swimming through my head. Nevertheless, I concentrated on making sure my girl was OK, though I managed a phone call to hotel security to ensure it wasn’t in the limo or the vestibule where we had been.

Now . . . having said all that, this really isn’t what the story is about; at least it has little to do with the point I wish to make here (other than to set the stage). Another thing I had done was decide to leave my BlackBerry in our hotel room, thinking I really wouldn’t want – or need – to talk to anyone on the phone. After all, I had my iPad and could essentially communicate via email, twitter, facebook, and sms to just about anyone I knew or cared about.

One more thing. As it turned out, our daughter had split her lips a bit and scratched her upper gums, but she didn’t need stitches and her teeth were fine. All we needed was an ice pack and, of course, the assurance of the Doctor that she was not in need of any surgery or other procedures to ameliorate any permanent damage <whew!>

So . . . now we had a ride back to the hotel (generously provided by Hilton Security), but we didn’t have the address to the house we were going to and, at that point, nobody seemed to be answering their phone. My wife had her cell, but she doesn’t have email on it and my BlackBerry had the address in one of the emails I could access with it. I was forced to go up to the room and, when I arrived, I found there was both an email and a voicemail from the person who had found my iPad and was anxious to return it to me. I was floored! Both my wife and I were certain I’d never see it again.

To make a long story longer (just kidding), I was able to hook up with this person and the following morning we met in the lobby and I got my iPad back. This blog post is, ultimately, my way of thanking him in the only way he would allow me. I offered him a reward, but he wouldn’t even let me take my hand out of my pocket. He did let me give him a hug when we parted and I hope we will stay in touch. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems to me there aren’t enough people like him around these days.

Now I need to tell you who he is. His name is Troy Maragos. He is the Director of Compassion Ministry and Local Outreach at the Harvest Bible Chapel Niles. I need to thank him publicly and, even more, because I am not a religious person, I need everyone to know how much I value (and trust) the kind of person this man is. When I was in my first year of law school, one of my professors said something that has stuck with me over the years (decades, actually; over three of them). He said “If I had to choose between a person who had the right politics but no humanity, and a person with the wrong politics but who had humanity, I’d pick the latter every time.”

This experience points out a somewhat analogous situation, I think. Here is a man who’s religion is not only different than the one I was born to (I was raised as a Jew and I am bar mitzvah), but who has religion as his occupation; surely something anathema to my own non-religious life. Nevertheless, he demonstrated the humanity I always seek in people. He was not merely selfless, but relentless in seeing the right thing was done.

I have a huge amount of respect for that and I am deeply thankful our lives crossed at the time they did. I want to wish him the best and hope he finds success in all he does. The world needs more people like him, in my opinion.

About Rick Ladd

I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining. Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence. I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind. View all posts by Rick Ladd

8 responses to “By Way of Thanks, This is for you Troy.

  • Let Me Wipe This Egg Off My Face « Systems Savvy

    […] busiest single day I had experienced on this blog was slightly over two years ago. It was from a post I wrote thanking the gentleman who found my iPad after I had left it behind during a medical crisis […]


  • Chris

    What a beautiful story! I would love to repost it on my blog, which is all about all things positive and upbeat. People like this gentleman are everywhere, we just don’t hear about them unless folks like you take the time to write a blog post about them or recognize them in some other way. The news and our society in general is so very negative. It is wonderful to read a positive, uplifting story that restores one’s faith in humanity, especially here in these United States, where we are led to believe (again by the media) that we should trust no one, be afraid of anyone different, etc. Thank you for sharing this! LOVED it! Glad your little girl is okay and that you got not only your iPad back, but your trust in the kindness of strangers! 🙂


    • Rick Ladd

      Thanks so much for your comments, Chris. Sorry I didn’t respond a little sooner. If you’re waiting for an OK from me, here it is. You are more than welcome to repost or link to this story. I appreciate you offering your thoughts. I still think of Troy and how this all worked out. Would that we heard more stories like this. I have no doubt they occur more frequently than most of us imagine, and not just in Insurance commercials.


  • Igo Tan

    Thanks for the touching story, Rick
    There are a lot of good people in this world. At one time I lost a wallet with $2000 cash and another time a $1500 SLR camera. Both times the finder phoned me as there was a phone number attached and insisted not to take reward. I am grateful to meet so many good people.


    • Rick Ladd

      Hi Igo. Believe me, I’m really glad to be able to share it, though I would have preferred the proximate cause of the whole thing (my daughter’s injury) hadn’t happened at all. It’s good to hear other stories shared here, as it buoys my confidence in our fellow Homo Sapiens, whose natural goodness I sometimes have cause to question. Actually, I have always believed in the inherent goodness of humanity. We are, after all, social animals and that comes with a great deal of evolutionary inertia.

      Many years ago I seem to recall reading a philosopher (whose name has vaporized in the mists of time) who averred “we are all born with the wisdom of the universe and spend the rest of our lives forgetting it.” Somewhat analogous to that is the belief of mine that our natural tendency is to cooperate and help each other, without thought and with no desire for recompense. Unfortunately, many of us have that natural magnanimity “beaten” out of us. I’m thankful it doesn’t appear to be a majority who have suffered such a fate. Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.


  • E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez » My Top 10 Reasons Why I Bought an iPad

    […] you think about them and share them perhaps in your own blog, or over here as a comment, check out this beautiful and delightfully touching true story shared by my good friend Rick on something that perhaps would not have happened without an iPad […]


  • Martijn Linssen

    You need to have faith my friend – and so does your wife. I don’t know who or what took it or why, but at least Troy is showing that you should have (had) faith

    I would have returned your iPad too btw, heck the majority would have, it was inside the Hilton!

    I really like you a lot Rick, your tweets, your comments, I think of you pretty highly

    How about you?


    • Rick Ladd

      Thanks, Martijn. I know lots of people (especially the ones I have come to respect and trust) would have returned the iPad. Nevertheless, the main thing I can think of in response to you is, clearly you haven’t spent a lot of time in the United States. I’m not sure the majority would have taken the time and I have no doubt there are many who would have gladly taken the thing and tried to sell it. Remember, I quite stupidly hadn’t protected it. Then again, maybe I’m not giving enough credit to folks. The other side is that it has a phone number associated with it and is probably fairly easy to track down. However, as we were returning to the hotel from the hospital, my wife said “I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t think you’re going to see that thing again.” I had to agree, so I was overjoyed to find the messages waiting for me when I retrieved my BlackBerry.

      I’ve become so attached to my iPad that, when I was talking to Troy I told him as I was contemplating my loss I was “wondering what to do with my life . . . other than end it!” He later told me, because of his calling, he was a bit worried about me. He wasn’t sure if I was serious or not. Frankly, for a moment I wasn’t sure myself . . . but I recovered 🙂

      BTW – Another part of the story I didn’t put in there was that I tried to go to Mobile Me to erase all the data remotely from inside the hospital. The Doctor was kind enough to log me on to the system with his password. Unfortunately, their browser was so out-of-date, I couldn’t access it without upgrading – and I wasn’t about to do that, even if their network would have allowed me to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: