I have a friend, I’ll call him John. We had worked doing the same type of construction for many years. He had worked for a couple of my competitors, but each were friendly competitors, so we have been in various joint venture arraignments throughout the years.
Somewhere along the way, due to a divorce or perhaps it was the cause of the divorce, John developed a serious cocaine habit. He came to me in the need of employment. His habit had caused him to be fired from his last job.
Not realizing that cocaine addiction couldn’t be cured with compassion and friendship, I hired John, thinking he just needed a chance. He is a very bright fellow and I figured that if he wanted to straighten out his life, all he needed was a chance. He was put in a position in the company that required a lot from him.
He did fairly well for a while, it seemed. I watched over him, knowing with his history that he could slip up. Sure enough at a very critical time when he was needed to perform the most he wasn’t around. I finally reached him by phone but immediately I could tell there was a problem. He made no sense. Finally I called and a female voice answered. It was evident she was strung out, but at some point she indicated to me that John wasn’t just high but she thought he had overdosed. Then she hung up and I was unable to find out where they were.
I was at our Leander office. I called 911. I told the lady that took the call what was happening and that my friend appeared to be in bad need of help. I gave her the phone number. She appeared to want to help but didn’t really know what to do. He could be anywhere. I suggested that if she could get ahold of the cell phone company and find out where the phone was located, or the general area, I’d would go find John.
Amazingly she did and within minutes she was able to tell me the phone was last hitting a tower in far south Austin. She gave me the address of that tower. I figured that with protocol and all the rights to privacy, that a person would never get this type of information. I guess it was the power of persuasion at work. It may have been the power of desperation.
Within minutes I was on my way to that area of town. I knew there were only a few motels within a 2 or 3 mile radius of that cell tower. Luckily, the first one I drove to, I pulled around back and saw John’s truck. I went to the front desk to inquire as to the room John was in. Back to the issue of privacy, I was already expecting a hard time getting the room number. I think when I mentioned that if I didn’t find the room soon they may be hauling a corpse out of that room, the manager programed me a key, and handed it over. He didn’t even go with me. I guess he didn’t want to take a chance on seeing a dead body. I guess it was the power of persuasion at work again.
When I opened the door and entered, the girl had already fled. John was in bad shape and just wanted to be left along. A few minutes later we were on our way to an emergency room. I guess it was the power of persuasion at work for the third time that day.
He wanted me to take him to a restaurant for something eat, as he figured once he checked in at the hospital he my might be out of circulation for awhile. We were seated as soon as we got there. It was the middle of the afternoon, so they weren’t busy.
John looked really bad and his speech wasn’t so good either. Almost the minute we set down, I noticed there was a large table of people close by. It was a birthday luncheon. It was a family and several members of a guys office staff. The person being honored was a good friend and contractor that we both knew and had a close working relationship to.
Once I pointed out to John who was at the neighboring table I quickly coaxed John up from his seat and we hit the front door. We found another place for John to have a bite to eat and some coffee.
John spent the night in the hospital and then was transferred to a rehab facility. I didn’t put him back to work. He went on to find a position with another of my competitors. It’s been 12 or more years and John seems to be doing fine. We continue to have a friendship. I wish him the very best.
I’m just thankful that on that day, I got ahold of a 911 dispatcher and a motel manager that had some common sense. Perhaps if they hadn’t, things would have turned out much differently.