Robert G., Contributor

I see Robert G. most weekday mornings about 6:00 o'clock on my way to the downtown Y. His spot is at the top of the southbound I-40/65 exit ramp at Church Street.

I buy The Contributor from him every time there’s a new edition.

Robert is cheerful, witty, and thoughtful/philosophical about all sorts of topics. He has a surprising, rather professorial, vocabulary and occasionally writes little poetic nuggets they publish in the paper.

He makes me smile every time I see him. Sometimes we laugh out loud. Robert is a gas!

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So what does this have to do with real estate?

Real estate has to do with having a place to live
Anyone who sells The Contributor is homeless, or has been homeless at some point. Robert is no longer homeless. He lives in a boarding house and he is grateful for that. As I work on deals with my clients, and with agents and clients on the other side, I sometimes have to remind myself how good it is to have a place to live – even if it isn’t the perfect place.

And it has to do with the value of work
I was struck the first time Robert mentioned “my customers” when we were chatting. He made it clear to me that I am not simply giving him a handout. This is his job and he and I are business friends. He works hard – try standing at the top of an Interstate ramp in all sorts of weather for several hours, five days a week. If he can work hard at his job, so can I. Work brings dignity.

And it has to do with commitment
Robert is consistent. Barring an occasional visit to his daughter in Mississippi, or a bad cold, or a blizzard, Robert is there every morning, rain or shine, hot or cold. If he can show up for his customers, so can I.

And it has to do with gratitude
Robert is grateful that he has a place to live, and he’s grateful for his customers – especially the ones who stop to chat. I’m grateful that he’s there every morning. He reminds me to be grateful for everything I have. Like a place to live. Like my totally swell clients – not a rotten apple in the whole barrel so far – and the competent realtors I’ve worked deals with. Like the fact that I have the best job in the whole world.