This past week I was in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the annual Key Executives Mega Conference, which took place at the Renaissance Vinoy, beautiful hotel. I learned a lot during this conference, things like the forecasts about the future of newspapers, different ways to approach selling online and about social media and the mobile world. I am so glad and feel so blessed to be a part of this program. But what I learned the most from this conference is what friendship is all about.
On my way to Florida, I had an accident, which got me a free pass to the local hospital as I arrived, instead of the conference.
As I was walking down the aisle on the plane, I somehow managed to twist my right leg, just as I was sliding in to my seat. I was excited because I had a window seat. Yeah, I don't fly that often. So when I heard a snap, or a crack and a burning sensation, I kind of knew something was not right.
But alas, I buckled up and stretched out my leg for the two-hour flight.
And when we landed in Tampa, my right leg would not budge. I avoided drama by letting everyone on the plane get off first. The flight attendants tried to help, but I kept pushing them away. I can do this on my own, I thought.
And I made it as far as the terminal entrance. There I sat alone, lost, in pain and yes, in tears I didn’t know what to do. I hate asking for help and I would rather solve something on my own, instead of asking. But as I sat alone in that airport terminal, and knowing there was no other way to get to the hotel, without actually feeling more pain, I thought to call one of my fellows.
The program currently has eight fellows. I am in the 2011 class, so I am fairly new to the program.
"Get a cab and we will take you to the ER," I was told.
That idea about me trying to make it on my own, didn't work out. I was wrong. I was wheeled out of the airport and straight to the ER.
And they all came to my rescue, including the staff of the Inland Press Association.
I am very stubborn and hate to be the center of attention, but they were there for me, even as I fought the entire way.
I had planned to tour St. Petersburg and enjoy the night life, but instead I spent it in the hotel.
During the conference, the fellows where there for me. If I needed help with my walker, if I needed a cup of coffee. They were there the entire way. So thanks everyone. Christian, Maria, Victor, Maggie, Santiago, Stephanie and a big thanks to Henry, who stayed with me at the hospital and made me laugh as I sat through the pain.
When I got this fellowship, for me it was all about what I was going to gain from it, in terms of advancing my career. Instead, I leave this conference with gratitude and appreciation for the group of fellows I can call, my friends.
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