A colleague of mine came back from summer break to announce she had gotten married - surprise! At a local event this past Saturday, I ran into them and met her husband for the first time and it struck me how he had this familiar look to me, he reminded me of an old friend of mine named Gene.
I often credit Gene with saving me from further destruction, one day I was walking down Avenue U in Brooklyn and Gene was walking in the opposite direction, when we noticed each other, we stopped for a quick "Hey, what's up?" when before I had the chance to say anything, gene said, "Hey, I know that look, hang on a second." He then fumbled through the various pockets of his leather jacket and pulled out a business card, handed it to me, and said, 'call this guy, right after you call their office, you'll feel the weight begin to lift form your shoulders and it will all be alright - I just went through it myself."
The card was for a man named Lance Roger Spodek, an attorney specializing in personal bankruptcy. How did Gene know? What the hell did I look like walking down that street? I can tell you, that I was about 27 years old and in debt for a ridiculous amount of money and that it was eating at me every minute of every day.
gene was right, I called Spodek's office the next day, within a week the harassing and threatening calls from the credit card companies I owed money to came to a complete stop. It wasn't long after that all the papers were drawn up and I had a court date; the judge made me feel really bad about the poor financial decisions I had made to that point but soon after, he dismissed all of my debt, and let me keep my car.
A big part of my life changed forever the moment I walked out of that courtroom, I have not owed any money to anyone with the exception of my mortgage and an occasional car load since, my credit rating is as perfect as one can be. More than two decades have passed since I went through that experience. I take that experience with me each and every day of my life and use it as much as I could to teach others of my mistakes in hope that they won't make the same ones that I did. To this day, I remain grateful to Gene for someone seeing what he did and giving me that card.
I hadn't seen or heard from Gene in many years, life just moved on. Yesterday, at work we shared a cake to help my colleague celebrate her marriage and it reminded me again of Gene, so I decided to hit up the old Google monster.
After a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Gene's liver failed, and at the age of 55, Gene passed away back in 2011. Almost ironic that he once played in a band with his previously deceased brother called "The Medicine Men".
Rest in peace Gene.