I absolutely adore traveling through Rural Nevada and my affinity for driving is well documented (I get it from ‘Big Joe (my father)’ as he never met a road trip he did not like). I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Northern Nevada to meet with prospective clients for the Rural Contacts (one of our organization’s latest ventures). Prior to leaving Las Vegas I made a Facebook post outlining my schedule for the four-day trip, which included stops in Carson City, Reno, Fernley, West Wendover, Elko, and Ely. Within minutes a former tenant of mine reached out on the post and asked if I would be his guest for lunch in Fernley during my trip (look, weighing in at 366 pounds, y’all know I am not about to pass up a free meal).
We made further arrangements offline and once I completed my business meetings in Fernley, I headed towards his place of employment to pick him up. As he got in the car the topic of his relocation to Fernley came immediately to the forefront. I must admit, I was puzzled as to how a black man with no family ties to the area would decide to relocate from Las Vegas to Fernley. He mentioned that after my departure as the property manager (Circa 2015) he was evicted and soon found himself addicted and living on the streets.
While staying in a shelter he was introduced to the Human Resources Manager from a manufacturer of auto parts in Fernley. This gentleman was recruiting individuals to relocate to Fernley. The organization he represented would provide lodging for one month, a job, and assistance with budgeting to individuals willing to make the move. Given his current living arrangements my friend opted to take the man up on his offer. He was provided a bus ticket and soon arrived in Fernley, looking to make a fresh start.
Now, six months later, he slides into my passenger seat and immediately asks for a favor. He hands me $100 cash and asks if I will personally deliver it to his pastor when I return to Las Vegas. I assure him it will be done. As we proceed to the restaurant, he tells me he is still homeless, but now he is living in his car. I have so many questions. How is this possible when he is working for a large manufacturing company? Why would you purchase a vehicle before securing a place to live? If he remains homeless, why is he buying me lunch? Why is he sending me back to Las Vegas with $100 for his pastor when he remains without a place to live?
“I am a single man who works nearly sixty hours a week. I have absolutely no use for an apartment. Besides, without reliable mass transportation in Fernley, purchasing a vehicle to travel to and from work is essential. I am not interested in courting a woman, I am simply focused on building a nest egg, so I can return to Las Vegas and secure reasonable accommodations. My life is so simple, and God has provided for all of my needs.”
But where do you shower? Where do you wash your clothes? “I got a membership to Anytime Fitness!” He smiled as he held up the key fob. “The gym clears out around midnight and I have the whole place to myself. I can get a hot shower, relax in the sauna, and use the restroom whenever I like. And for my clothes, I just visit the laundromat once a week.”
My friend is far more disciplined and far more focused than I ever imagined. As we concluded our lunch, I dropped him back off at his job and we decided to meet again next month when I return to Northern Nevada. Driving away I was in utter disbelief. Despite all the obstacles in his life, his first concern was to provide me with an offering for his Pastor in Las Vegas. Despite the challenges of being addicted and homeless he had persevered and was now thriving in an environment completely foreign to him. And regardless of the circumstances surrounding his life, he gives praise and is grateful for each blessing bestowed on him.
When I reflect on my own life, I ask myself do I have his level of commitment? Am I so laser focused on obtaining success that the discipline required to achieve my goals becomes second nature? After what I was shown on that day in Fernley, Nevada I now know I can always do more. I believe our paths crossed for this very reason. As we embark to launch our media conglomerate, I will most assuredly be challenged. Through my friend’s example, I can rest assured I will be victorious, so long as I remain disciplined and focused on my ‘why’.