I walked into that elevator dripping wet. I attempted to use my pink and black polka dot umbrella that morning, but the strength of our Nebraska winds ripped it in two pieces. I kept walking. Nothing would keep me from this interview.

I found Memorial Stadium and a friendly individual showed me to that elevator door. I was dressed in a borrowed black suit coat and off black dress pants. I didn’t own a suit. This was the best I could do. I thought I looked OK – but I felt inferior when I saw my competitors in fully matched colorful suits. 

At this point, I was hoping my personality would carry me farther than my unfortunate threads.

I knew it was big time. I knew so many journalism and advertising and marketing majors wanted to get in to this exclusive club known as HuskerVision. I knew nothing about sports, but figured I would give it a try anyway. 

When the elevator dinged and those doors opened, I was strangely calm and confident. Clearly I didn’t know what was riding on this moment. The next hour was a whirlwind; a test on my sports knowledge, followed by two interviews and then a third. It was during that last interview when I met him. 

The boss.

He was a fairly intimidating guy but we hit it off right away. I talked about my former jobs – the time I castrated pigs on my family farm and the summer I spent cutting cattle carcasses at the Animal Research Center. If you ever want to break the ice – those two topics will do it.

The interview went well. I could feel it. I was so excited – I left the room, rode that elevator back down to the main level, made it out to my car and realized I left my purse – in his office. I had to go back. I’m so glad I did. It gave me one more chance to make an impression. 

It must have been a good one, because I got the job. 

HuskerVision taught me how to work hard and opened incredible doors in my career. It helped me build important connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. Most importantly, it’s where I met my husband. 14 years later – I can tell you that day; that moment changed my life.

We recently heard terrible news. The man that helped me get my start – the guy who ultimately made the final decision to hire me – my first real boss – has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

It’s a beast. 

He knows it, too. They are giving him a year. But that’s not stopping him. He’s putting up a fight and teaching us all lessons in the process.

We’d expect nothing less.

He started writing – sharing his story online with the world. As expected, it’s gone viral. Even during this illness, he continues to make an impact on strangers around the world. It seems anyone who comes in contact with this guy is inspired. I know I am. I know my husband is, too. Maybe you will be as well? 

So how do I thank him for his incredible influence? The only way I know how – by writing it down. I think he’d approve.

Thank you for believing in a 19 year old farm girl from small town Nebraska. Thank you for taking a chance on the forgetful teen that showed up to an interview in a mismatched suit, with wet hair and no sports knowledge. Thank you for seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself.

Thank you for choosing me to be part of the HuskerVision team. Your decision made a huge impact on my life. I am forever grateful. 

We all are. 

Read more from Jeff’s journal at The Last Train. I promise – you’ll be inspired. 

Read more from Leslie in the Kearney Hub.

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.