Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Memory of Paul

I lost a good friend this week, his name was Paul Knight.
Paul was a very eclectic individual. We worked together on night crew (third shift) from 1974 to 1976. Paul was never one to give people a good first impression. His appearance was often less than professional and he was so soft spoken that he was hard to understand at times.
Many considered Paul a little weird and unmanageable, but I took the time to get to know him and truly recognize his God given talents.

“Find the number one in everyone,” a leadership quote from my book Pecan Pie¹, was a catalyst for me in identifying the right role for Paul. Because he had a special talent for memorizing numbers he was a brilliant inventory control person, however only I and a few other team members of our store knew of Paul's unique skill.

On July 2, 1975 that brilliance, that gift, became known to everyone in the store and eventually throughout the entire supermarket chain. You see on that day, the assistant store manager had accidentally erased the cassette tape (and the back-up) that contained the inventory codes for all the product that needed ordered from our warehouse for the holiday weekend. The shelves would be empty. Panic set in.

I was ending my shift when I heard of this calamity; I approached the store manager and said,
“Call Paul, he can probably help.”
“Paul? What can he do!?” he replied with a negative surprise.
“Trust Me,” I said looking firmly into his eyes, “He will know what to do.”

We had less than one hour to “place an order” with the warehouse, we needed four hours.
The manager called Paul at home.
Paul called the warehouse.
Paul had memorized all the order codes, the on hand inventory and all the product movement.
In less than 30 minutes, he verbally placed an order for approximately 300 items.
Yes, you had to be there to believe it.

Paul gained a new respect with his colleagues that day and was promoted to Company Inventory Control Manager.
Paul was a hero…and on that July 4th weekend of 1975 Paul was truly a “Knight” in shining amour.

¹ Please refer to The Diamond Rule² (page 29) and Pecans of Wisdom (page 120) in my book:
Pecan Pie, 32 Business Success Strategies Passionately Baked to Order.
Available on

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