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I accidentally met a leader.

Someone who showed a rare confidence. Strength. Bravery.

The book launch was ten non-stop days of visiting friends and being interviewed by the media again. I was so tired by the end of it that I couldn’t even get it up to be afraid on the plane ride home.

Just said to myself, “Meh. Who cares if I get claustrophobia and everyone stares at me for screaming at the pilot to let me off the plane. C’mon Universe, get it over with already.”

The day after I got back, I resumed my 4-mile daily walk. Soon, I came upon a group of teenage boys throwing ice at each other, not the least bit worried about who else they might hit. Teens are notorious for being afraid to stray from the pack, yet one kid stepped forward and started shouting at the others to cool it.

That took guts.

So I punished him by saying in front of his friends that I appreciated him being a gentleman. Then I punished him further by giving him an unwanted hug.

The whole way home I thought of that kid—how he was braver than many adults—how I’d just met a leader.

I wish I would’ve told him that last part. You know, empowered the little dude, and all.

Here’s to you if you’re walking the earth in kindness, watching out for your brothers and sisters who are breathing the same air as you.

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The photo: My first book signing: Leawood, KS Barnes and Noble. Such a weird feeling.

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