Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Watch as Pete wins his political "Participant" ribbon

MY MAN STAN: He's never fails to entertain.
I'm so proud of myself that I'm going to brag about what just happened and then--for the remainder of this extraordinary day--just goof off.

Here's what happened.

I just spent a few hours at a Canadian Business History conference at the University of Toronto which I wouldn't have otherwise known about except my friend since grade 10 Stan Sudol was presenting so I wanted to go cheer him on. Stan killed it--he even managed to quote Stompin Tom Connors. I'd go see him again anytime.

After his presentation, we got a free lunch consisting of delicious pulled pork sandwiches and huge piles of desserts and then, Stan and I left the conference to get back to our real lives.

Out on the street, we were talking beside my motorcycle when suddenly, the guy who'd just given the lunchtime keynote exited the building and crossed towards us.

I said to Stan.

"It's Perrin Beattie!"

The Honourable Perrin Beattie is currently the president and CEO of the 200,000-member Canadian Chamber of Commerce and while I was enjoying the chocolate cake dessert, he was speechifying about the relationship between Canadian industry and our country's prosperity. He is also a former career politician, federal cabinet minister and--among people who care about things like this-- a household name. He's the kind of guy who gets doors opened for him.

When Stan and I spotted him, Beattie was trying, with no luck, to hail a taxi.
THE PERILS OF PERRIN: He sure didn't expect to hear from me.

"Wow," I said loud enough for him to hear, "Even Perrin Beattie can't get a cab in this town."

We headed towards him and Stan says something like, "We were just at your speech. Nice work."

We got closer. I stuck my hand out. "My name's Peter Carter. I'm a freelance magazine writer. We heard your presentation." I pointed to my bike. "I also have an extra helmet. If you have to be somewhere in a hurry, I can give you a lift."

Him: "Uh, no thanks."

Me: "I'm serious."

Him: "Thanks." He remained remarkably congenial, adding, "I have to be downtown but thanks."

Me: "Would it be your first time on a bike?"

Him: "Yes, it would."

Still. No taxi.

This was getting fun.

Stan asked if Beattie was from United Empire Loyalist stock, which is a certain part of the Canadian population descended from early American colonists who wanted no part of separating from England and immigrated to Canada after the American revolution. Beattie said he wasn't.

Then I did what I said I'm so proud of. And I took myself by complete surprise.

"Mr. Beattie," I said, going into double-barrelled sales mode, "I have something I think you ought to know about.

"My friend Alex McKee, he's a retired investment banker. He's launched this thing called www.millennialxchange.com.  It's a not-for-profit designed to bring millennials together with older mentors...."

I went on and on and kept saying "millennialxchange.com this" and "millennialxchange.com that."

"I'll watch for it," he said.

Still no cabs.
NO BLOG has ever suffered by the inclusion of a motorbike
photo or two, no matter how gratuitous.

"Alex didn't start millennialxchange.com to turn a profit. He did it to help the country and get all those millennials working."

And I actually told him--lightning fast--how the business department at Brock University is involved. Both he and Stan thought it sounded like the interesting idea that is; and I said "you'll be hearing more about millennialxchange.com."

He said "there's probably a lot of senior people who'd want to give something back too."

I put the sales pitch on hold.

"Still no cabs. I do have that extra helmet you know."

"No thanks," the gentleman--and he was extremely friendly--responded. "I think the subway will present less risks."  With that, he smiled and walked away. As did--after he and I caught up with family stuff--Stan.

It occurred to me later that because I'd introduced myself as a journalist (not something I always do) I could produce a little story about the encounter.

But first, just to make sure I had the details right,  I emailed Stan the following question: "Based on our little conversation with the guy, I'd have to say that he thought the millennialxchange thing was an okay idea, right?"

Stan emailed me back: "Yes. He did."

Then I called Alex at www.millennialxchange.com to tell him how I had buttonholed the head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to tell him how Alex was helping kids out of their parents' basements, one millennial at a time and that Mr. Beattie, the former cabinet minister and current head of Canada's national Chamber of Commerce, with more than 200,000 members, believes www.millennialxchange.com is a good thing.

And although he doesn't let on, sometimes I have the distinct impression Alex McKee believes I've lost it.

1 comment: