Last week, Berkeley Hills Broker, Tracy Sichterman and Berkeley Hills Realtor, Krista Miller traveled to New York City for the annual Inman Connect Conference held each January near Times Square. The event draws Realtors from all over the world to learn about tools, trends and new ideas surrounding real estate technology. The conference creator, Brad Inman, has been putting on the “show” for over twenty years.
Beyond tech tools, the conference brought up the concept of bravery and courage for our work and our lives. Last week was a tumultuous time with the inauguration and the marches, especially in New York City. We want to share two stories that happened “on the streets of New York” that not only show courage, but also #REKindness.
The first story was related to us by the broker of a very courageous and kind Realtor from Canada. The Realtor, James McCloskey and his broker were walking down the street in Times Square and James noticed a homeless man shivering on the street. He bent down and asked the man if he needed help. The man said he could use a few bucks to get through the night. James said, “How can I help you get off this street? Do you have any family that you can stay with?” The man responded that he had a sister in North Carolina. James offered to call the man’s sister right then and see if she would take him in. The man gave James her phone number. He had to call three times since it was in the middle of the night and she had no idea whose cell phone number it was who was trying to reach her. She finally answered and James introduced himself to the man’s sister and told her where her brother was. James then said, “If I can get him on a plane to you, will you pick him up from the airport and help him?” The sister, understandably, was very surprised, but agreed that “Yes, if you can get him here, I will find him the help he needs.” So, James told the homeless man that he was calling the airlines to purchase a one way ticket to North Carolina and his sister was going to help him. The man was shocked by the kindness of a stranger and hugged James and tears streamed down his face as James called the airline, got the man’s information for the ticket and gave him some money for a taxi to get him to the airport that night. James’s broker, stood there with a mixed bag of emotions. He was touched by the show of incredible kindness, he was taken aback that this man, covered in the slime and smell of the streets was hugging his friend while James hugged wholeheartedly back and that he was actually helping to change this man’s life right in front of his eyes. We had a chance to hug James ourselves and tell him thank you for his kindness and confirming our belief in humanity that one person, who takes the time and shows courage to reach out can affect not just one person’s life, but everyone who is also touched by the example.
The second story of kindness, which happened the night prior to meeting our new friend James, occured again near Times Square. Brad Inman was leading us and a small group of conference attendees to a real estate industry event sponsored by Zillow. In the group was the CEO of Better Homes and Gardens, Sherry Chris. Brad and Sherry are icons in the real estate industry and any company would relish their presence at their event. When we came to the door of the party, a Zillow staff person told us that the party was already at capacity and he could not allow all of us into the event. He looked at Brad and Sherry and invited them to come up while the rest of us waited on the street. Both Brad and Sherry, almost simultaneously, refused the offer and instead encouraged the staffer to allow us to go in their place. This happened in front of over two dozen Realtors waiting in line. They wanted us, as Realtors and marketers, to have an opportunity to meet new people to grow our businesses and to enjoy ourselves and did not want to be put above anyone else. We hardly had time to thank them for their selflessness before we were whisked upstairs to a party on a skydeck overlooking the entire New York skyline. We were grateful to be in the party, out of the 25 degree weather on the streets below and mostly feeling that we had just witnessed something that embodied why the real estate industry is a relationship business.
Thank you to Brad, Sherry and James who reminded us what kindness looks like in action and that it only takes a moment to uplift and inspire others.