This I Believe

STEPHEN - INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana
Entered on June 29, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: carpe diem, death

I’m Chairman, CEO and founder of a publicly-trucking trucking company with 3,500 employees, based in Indianapolis. I drive people crazy, because of my passion for time. I hate wasting time, I never lie on a couch looking at the ceiling. When I ask someone in our company to do something, what would normally take a couple of days to do, I expect to be done in a day. When someone says “I’ll get back to you”, I will probably ask that person how they’re doing on the answer four or five times before they respond. I am known around the company as the “Great Pesterer”, as time is so important to me.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1940. My father was a taxi driver, who died when I was 21 years old. In 1946, my mother died of cancer. I had just turned six years old. The only scene I remember of my mother was when she was put into an ambulance to go to the hospital. She never came home, as she died about two weeks later. In those days, little kids were not allowed in patient rooms. I never saw her again.

I was the only kid in my class at grade school without a mother. Those were the days before divorces. I felt like the world was unfair to me, because I didn’t have a mother. My father, as a taxi driver, only made money when he was driving the taxi, and to me seemed to work all the time.

I couldn’t wait to get through school. I skipped eighth grade, and my senior year at Cornell University, because I couldn’t wait to get started in life. My father died the week I got a Master’s in Business from Cornell, when I was 21 years old.

In retrospect, now at 66 years old, I realize that through her death, my mother gave me a gift. That gift was the understanding, at the ripe old age of six, that all God gave us in life is time. Use it. Be passionate about it. Don’t lose it or waste it. That passion made me successful in life, and I thank my mother for that give.