My first brush with a media celebrity was in 1968. I was in kindergarten. I went to my kindergarten one day. There was a big assembly and we had a guest speaker. The guest speaker was Fred rogers. Mr. Rogers of PBS television fame. Those of you outside of the us, for those of you who are younger than 45, probably do not know who he is. But he was a staple of children’s television for decades in the United States. He came to my elementary school spoke for free. I remember being in such awe loved him. My mother said “my head looked…” I could not even look at. I was so awestruck. I stared the floor. I felt almost like a burning sensation.
One of the most exciting things that ever happened to me afterward as we were leaving. Because his parents were invited. My father was there. Kids chased my father around asking for his autograph. They thought he looked like Mr. Rogers a passing resemblance. They both had dark hair at the time and were somewhat ordinary looking white men, But I was so excited by that. he is someone I watched every day for years. In fact, he is someone I still have my daughter watch occasionally. Now fast-forward about 25 years is now the mid-1980s. I am being interviewed at WS-FSU in Tallahassee Florida by a well-known TV and radio talk-show host there at the time Gary Jordan. We finished the interview and something reminded me of Mr. Rogers.
Maybe I saw his face somewhere or this image came up because he was on the air still. I just mentioned him in passing and Gary said to me “TJ you know that guy really is the real deal.” Gary then told me about a time that Fred rogers came to the station promoting a new show or book or something. Gary interviewed him and then the interview was over. Gray said “oh thanks a lot oh and would you mind signing your poster for my daughter she is a big fan. Fred rogers said “Sure I am happy” to the next segment goes on. he says “goodbye” Gary finishes his show. It is 40 minutes later. He walks out. There is Fred rogers, Fred turns to Gary and says “is that Lorie with an I or an e” it was so important to Fred rogers to spell this kid who’d never met the kid to spell the child’s name correctly. He waited around until the show was over. Just so he could ask. I guess I am not that good of a person. I am not that patient. So I really have respect for Fred roger who is no longer with us. But things like that do pay off. I am not saying Fred rogers did that to get good publicity or to have people talk about it. But your reputation is set. Especially when you are around media people, they talk. They talk when you do good things like that and you show real integrity. But they also talk if it is the opposite.
So the real lesson here is treat people the way you want to be treated. Treat everyone the same whether it is someone above you a producer who can get you booked. Help your career or the child of someone who is never going to know one way or the other. You treat all people well and your reputation will correspond to that.
Okay so why do I tell that lesson? I do this for a couple of things. The main reason is I want people to realize that you want a great reputation. it is built by a lot of little small acts how you treat people. When it comes to communicating your brand, that is sometimes as important, even more important than the actual message is coming out of your mouth. So it could be something like that. It could be just a simple matter of do not ever make people wait for it. I might be perfect as far as waiting 45 minutes to spell the kids name right, but a part of my brand is I never make people wait for me. I do not rudely assume they are happy too way from. I show up on time or early. I respect people’s time.
Keep that in mind it is not just what you say. It is how you treat people how you respect people. That is the message. Now a sub message of why I use this story is, it just gives people a little better sense of who I am and how I was. a little kid like anyone else and everybody has someone. they kind of liked or admired as a kid. Sort of, positioned me. This was in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I am just in a little elementary school as my kindergarten. Fred rogers happens to live in Pittsburgh and his TV studio was in Pittsburgh too. By the way first TV studio I ever went to was, Mr. Rogers studio in in Pittsburgh but they were not set up that day and I could not get a tour one of the few regrets I have in life.
Do you Treat People the Way You Want to Be Treated? and Why?