Updated: Oct 15, 2021
"Real estate isn't just my career path, it's my passion."
One second everything was fine, the next moment a car was flying toward me. That night would change the course of my life forever.
It was New Year's Eve in Lakewood, Ohio as I trudged home through the frigid night after celebrating with my friends. The snow was falling heavily, but my mind was happily occupied with the excitement of the new year and my impending high school graduation.
As I shoved my hands deeper into my pockets, I hardly noticed headlights coming toward me until suddenly, the oncoming car swerved and crashed head-on into the guard rail and plummeted 80 feet into the valley below. My jaw dropped as I watched the car seemingly fly through the air, caught in sickening slow motion until I heard the crunching of metal followed by an eerie silence.
Terrified, I made my way clumsily down the familiar hillside. Choosing a clear path, I approached the car, almost too afraid to look inside. The snow crunched beneath my boots as I slipped along the icy rocks, grabbing them with my bare hands for support.
I reached the car. The engine revved occasionally, and shattered glass was strewn about from the impact. Smoke bellowed out of the car as I frantically looked for the driver. Finally, I spotted him, trapped in the debris, and barely clinging to life.
I was at a loss. I was a seventeen-year-old kid. What could I possibly do for this man? Feeling inadequate, I did the only thing I could—I comforted him and stayed by his side until help arrived.
The minutes felt like hours as we waited together with the snow falling silently around us. When the ambulance arrived, I scaled back up the hill, gripping the frozen rocks, suddenly feeling the effects of the cold. The officers took my statement and courteously gave me a ride home. I sat quietly in the car, staring out into the night. My hands were aching from second degree frostbite, but I barely noticed it. All I could think about was that man. Was he going to be okay?
The next morning, the officers came to my house to give me the news: He didn't make it. Guilt and remorse washed over me. What could I have done more? In the end, I had done all that I could, even though it wasn't enough.
I had a hard time thinking of anything else. I kept replaying the whole thing in my mind - the crash, the frostbite, the officer's remarks. Although I was riddled with fear and apprehension, I realized something about myself that would change the course of my life forever. I now recognized my deep desire to help and comfort those in need. At seventeen, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but it became clear to me that I wanted to make a difference.
Since then, I have enjoyed a fulfilling life with my beautiful wife and two incredible children while working as a REALTOR.
Of course, I'm not perfect but I've tried my best to remember the lesson I learned on that cold January night, and I have taken every opportunity to better myself and the world around me. Although I didn't rush off to medical school or join the police academy, I found an inner drive to make a positive difference in the lives of those I meet every day.
That night, I discovered a powerful truth about myself – who I really am. And I’ve discovered that after becoming a REALTOR in 2006, I can do just that. I don’t need to wear a white lab coat or a bullet proof vest to serve those around me. No matter where I go in life or which vocation I choose, the option to help others is always available to me.