I read a great book I just so happen to pick up at the book store while buying birthday cards for a friend. The title caught my eye and I picked it up thinking it was a biography about the founder of the international coffee chain. A rags to riches type story. When I turned it over to read the back I was immediately hooked upon learning that this story was just the opposite. A riches to rags story subtitled, "a son of privilege learns to live like everyone else." I immediately, (in the bookstore) opened to the first page and begun reading. The author, Michael Gates Gill, born to a prominent family and educated at Yale, grew up in the toniest of New York suburbs, Bronxsville. His father, Brendan Gill was a prominent writer for The New Yorker for 60 years, a best selling author and an insider to New York's elite. As was his destiny Michael graduated from Yale, was hired right out of college at one of the worlds largest ad agency's and was making a solid 6 figure income for some 20 odd years. Then, at the age of 53, he was fired from his executive position and his life spiraled out of control. Not only was he failing miserably trying make ends meet with his own consulting business, but his extra marital affair was exposed ending his twenty year marriage. With five children to support, his life in shambles, Gill takes us back to the day when his happenstance meeting with a young woman at a Bronxsville Starbucks changed his life.
Gill credits the simple pleasures of a job well done, the support and respect of his co-workers and his children for helping him turn his life around. His job at Starbucks really did save his life. Gill says he is the happiest he has ever been in his life and the success of a corporate title and a big salary aren't the components he defines himself by any longer. Despite all of this, monetary success did manage to find him. His memoir was a New York Times best seller and of course Hollywood followed. Tom Hanks has bought the rights to his story and will star as Gill in the film. This will no doubt bring his income level back into the six figure neighborhood, as will the inspirational speaking engagements and book tours he will be doing promoting his message. Gill says he has no plans to leave his barrister job at Starbucks.
I loved this story about humility and the lessons that it teaches. It's never too late to begin again, find redemption in menial tasks and be happy. Gill himself says, "I'm so much happier serving than I ever was being served."