I promise I will start writing about my amazing back stories- which was one of the main reasons for the website altogether. So far I’ve put video, music, photos, and present observations into the site without one personal story to share. I wanted to start with something earlier, but one recent experience last week (on MLK Jr. Day) was so awesome that I have to make it my first “Personal Adventure” story while it’s fresh in my mind.
So finally, without further and delayed ado, here is my first Personal Adventure story for all to read on MisterLevius.com. (Yipeeee!)
(all images taken by Travis Levius)
In a Nutshell:
I went to a bookstore event determined- with camera and mic recorder in tow- and without enough change to head home on the public transit bus…90 minutes later I walk out with $15, a free book bought by a total stranger, and an autograph and interview with a national best-selling author.
In the late morning on Martin Luther King Day, I talked to God and said “I don’t what you have in store for me today, or where I’m going to be- all I know is that I’m going to have an amazing day.” The sequential events later that day compel me to believe that it worked.
Two days before, I didn’t know anything about Michael Gates Gill, author of popular best-selling book “How Starbucks Saved My Life.” He was coming to Atlanta to promote his new book “How to Save Your Own Life,” a more direct lesson-laden project that shares his personal life wisdom to readers. I won’t get into too much detail on his story and the “Starbucks” book, for my interview with him (!) featured next week will cover this thoroughly. But I will say it is one of the most unique inspirational stories I’d ever read. And for the sake of this blog…I had to find him.
After typing my MLK Jr. Day entry for the blog in the afternoon (which I hope you read and were blessed by!) I got ready to hear Gill speak at the event and hope to land an interview. I hopped on the MARTA bus, and to my embarrassment didn’t have enough change on my card to board (there should have been enough though). All I had was $1.75 in my pocket when the rate is $2.00. The bus driver was nice enough to let me ride anyway, and I would just have to find a way to get extra fare to head back home. I made it to the bookstore and its tiny photography gallery room, and there he was talking to an intimate crowd of listeners and fans.
My heart was beating fast for a short period, but there was no need to be nervous: even from across the room I sensed his gentle humility, as he told the crowd his about his major transition from six-figure jet-setter to current job as a Starbucks worker (…and happy about it).
I took out my camera and mic recorder (me being the only photographer/reporter there) and got to work, snapping pictures quietly while the recorder picked up his speech.
After his closing remarks, an older woman asked me about where I was going to place the pictures. It then led to me talking about my blog and what it’s about. And that led to her telling me about what she was passionate about (helping hurt women) but didn’t know where to start. I gave her some ideas and tips from the top of my head, being excited to meet someone on the brink of following their desire. She felt really helped after talking to me and she asked, “Did you but a copy of his book yet?” while people were in line getting them signed by Gill. I said, “No, I don’t have the money.” In an instant…she offered to buy the “Starbucks” book for me. Surprised and super-grateful, I thanked her for willing to do that for me.
While she went to purchase the paperback, it was my turn to talk to Michael Gates Gill. I still get nervous around “big” people sometimes, but I carried on and asked if I could interview him. He replied with a “Yes” and I was in there! Though I had written questions it mostly felt like natural conversation. Between this time, the lady handed me the brand new book copy for him to autograph. I was greatly inspired by his story, and he was impressed by mines as well, saying that “it didn’t take you 60 years!” to figure out that you don’t HAVE to have it all figured out. He felt honored that I came over there to hear him in such short notice. I, of course, felt more honored to meet him and hear his wisdom.
My favorite nugget of wisdom: I was in mid-conversation with him about what I do and said, “Though I’m only 22, I started the blog but I really envision a world where-” and he cut me off. He said to me, “Don’t say ‘only’ 22. Because you see life truly, and feel it as truly as anybody, you know? I mean how old was Martin Luther King Jr. when he died? He was very young. And he already achieved great, great things.”
Reminded very much of: “Do not say ‘I am only a youth,’ for you shall go to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” –Jeremiah 1:7
Everyone left the event and it was just me, the lady, and Gill, and we all walked out the door together. Before I fully departed, almost forgetting, I asked if anyone had a quarter I could use to get back home. He, all smiles, said “Well I actually have some bills left” and he handed me two bills and said “God Bless You.” I beamed with thanks and gratitude and said my goodbyes to the both of them. I walked away feeling as if that whole event was so unreal. Minutes later I looked into my pocket, not knowing how much money he gave me, and I saw a $10 bill and a $5 bill. $15…and all I asked for was a quarter to get home. Could you imagine how I felt?!
This day would by far be one of the most memorable and definitive days of my life. And when I had the inkling that this blog is something so much bigger than me, this day’s events solidified my hunch 100-fold. It brings me so.much.joy to find inspiring people and share their stories to others. I hope you were blessed by this- the subsequent interview will be even greater.
Thank you for reading!