Don’t Miss the Chance

Jim Lee larger version

Here is a challenge for you. Close your eyes and think of the best person you know or have ever met. Do you have someone in your mind? Now, when did you last reach out to them to tell them how much you respect and appreciate and love them? So why not? Too busy, just haven’t got around to it, don’t think it is a big deal, or don’t like doing that type of thing? Get over ityou never know when that best person will not be around for you. I have had someone in my life who would often reach out to memy uncle, who was a mere six years older than me and more like my brother as we grew up together and remained friends throughout. He was a retired police officer who had remained in our hometown in Indiana.

Pretty much every week he would call to “check up on me.” On November 15, I received my last call from him as two days later he passed with a massive stroke. I really miss those calls and really miss the chance to tell him how much I appreciated them and loved him. I am saddened over having missed the chance.

I am thinking of someone else who is the best person I ever knew. Throughout the 25 years I knew him, we would speak monthly. We had worked together, and he had supported the magazine through the editorial board since the origin. Then he was a founding member of the Loss Prevention Foundation and a key person on the executive committee. Through those two associations, we maintained a business relationship. He was also a supporter of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), the National Retail Federation (NRF), Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ), and various charities and non-for-profit endeavors. Seems like he was always giving of his time-I often wondered how he had so much “spare time.” Just the best person I ever knew.

Whenever I am on a flight, I think of him. He was a person in life who would sit with both hands on the seat belt waiting for the “go” signal, who would come when the pilot would say, “When we reach a comfortable cruising attitude, you may get up and move about the cabin.” He was always seeking out the next initiative or just plain staying involved and moving about the industry. I admired that about him, but I missed the chance to tell him way too often.

He loved to play golf, hunt, and fish. Generally he just liked to try and do about anything. I often played golf with him-he was not very good, but he would never admit it. For that matter, none of us are very good. He would grind with a big smile on his face and a wonderful laugh when he would do something well. He could take a ribbing, and he could give it right back. Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” That was him-either way was still a positive.

The best person I ever knew was always doing little things for others. Little things can turn out to be big things to others. So many times I would say to him, “I need your help.” Before he would hear the request, he was answering, “Yes. Okay.” He felt very fortunate in what he had achieved in business and family, and he wanted to share and give back. I feel very fortunate that I knew this exceptional man. He enriched my life and was an example to follow for everyone he touched.

The best person I ever knew was Bob MacLea, retired senior vice president of loss prevention for TJX. As many of you know, he recently passed. Much has been chronicled about his accomplishments in work and family. I am so happy I did not miss the chance to tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to others and me. Eternal thanks to you, Bob.
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