Payback is Hell

January 14, 2016

For most of my adult life, I have spent Christmas Eve afternoons sitting alone at my office desk. We normally let everyone leave at noon on December 24th and this year was no different. Upon returning from lunch, I found a stack of letters waiting for me to open. I began reading them, and before I had finished the first letter, I was reaching for tissues to wipe away my tears! The letters were from college students who I do not even know…

Recently, I spoke to a group of about 200 college business students who were taking an entrepreneurial class, and I tried to speak from the heart. Literally. I was standing in front of them wearing a large velvet foam heart and tight fitting red body suit, exposing my skinny “chicken” legs!

I shared with them my many failures, experiences, and blessings. I routinely tell people that my mission is service to God, Country and Family, as we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. These college students have impacted my life to become even more relentless in my servant leadership and to touch even more lives. I did not feel that the words on the pages that I read were really about me. I felt a warm sense of pride for the young people who wrote them, in that they understood and embraced many of my values, principles and philosophies in life. I felt they too have a little more hope for their own positive future, knowing that if a “failure” who refuses to quit can do it, so can they (with God’s help).

To be perfectly honest, their words probably touched my life more than I touched theirs. Words cannot fully reveal the sense of humility that I felt as a result of the letters. I am merely the instrument that is being used by my Boss up above. One thing is for sure: as long as I am breathing, I will continue to strive to maintain their trust and perceptions, as I strive to live what I profess in all aspects of my life.

This was a special Christmas that I will never forget.

Here are some excerpts from the letters I read on December 24, 2015 that brought tears to my eyes:

“…wearing a heart costume and a cowboy hat helped make sure that I paid attention…..The importance of attention, interest, desire, action and conviction was something that I found motivational in your presentation….I felt that your advice to be a doer, to dream big, and to work hard was something that everyone needed to hear.”


“…your enthusiasm was instantly captivated with what you had to say…It was refreshing for all of us to see someone have a little fun in their speech.”


“…You reminded us that a moment when challenges rear their ugly heads, we are not to lose sight of our goal…You mentioned that any deal is only as good as the people involved…You can make a difference that doesn’t necessarily involve money coming into your pocket.”


“…if you were able to become this successful, we can become successful entrepreneurs too. Like you said in your presentation, all we need is heart…Our team also learned from you that it is necessary for an outstanding company to have a mission of making a positive difference.”


“…Your outfit’s subliminal message also rang a bell in our heads, as we believe that having heart and believing in yourself are critical characteristics one must have to be a successful entrepreneur…Not to mention that failure will happen and should not be taken as an utter failure, but more of a learning experience which guides you along in your career.”


“…When you informed the class that a mediocre student with little money can do a lot with passion, that spoke to us on a personal level, because you know where we are coming from….By explaining how giving the most in whatever you do and how any deal is only as good as what is in the heart of those involved, you have opened the doors of opportunity for us young students to dream and achieve our goals.”


“…Everyone walked out with a smile on their face because of the newfound knowledge you presented for future business endeavors…Although the costume was humorous, it was great that throughout the presentation you used it as a symbol for putting effort into everything you do, and to do things with as much as heart and passion as possible.”


“…When you mentioned ‘grow or die,’ something clicked in my head. I realized the importance of growth and how you cannot sit stagnant…I have already used this information from you and I look forward to using it every day.”


“…What you said about earning your wings at KA really says a lot…You want your employees to prove themselves to the company, regardless of where they are from; whether you are a veteran or a Harvard grad. You proved to our class that if we give opportunities one hundred percent, even if we fail, we will learn something important and grow as a person.”



Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.