I would like to take a second and share one of my favorite quotes from Booker T. Washington with you. The quote goes “Success is not measured in the heights one attains but in the obstacles one over comes in its attainment”.
To me, this quote is a symbol of many of the lessons we can learn from my father. No matter how far down my dad ever got, he always picked himself up and found a way to be successful.
Dad always went on and on about how proud he was of his experience going through the management training program at McDonald’s. He told me “it doesn’t matter what McDonald’s you go in to … it will all be the same quality because of the strict standards the corporation has. You don’t get that at an Arby’s or a Burger King because they don’t have the same commitment to standards as McDonald’s” … I remember one time I stumped him when I said “I guess that’s why coffee is terrible at every single McDonald’s, right?” … He didn’t like that much.
Dad got a lot of out his McDonald’s experience … and I’m not just talking about his desire to find a McDonald’s on every continent he traveled to. I’m talking about his commitment to excellence in everything that he did. We all know that Dad worked … a lot. He was looked upon as an expert in his field, even referred to as “the foundation” of everything they do at his most recent job. But even when Dad was busy with work, he always found time for me and Katy, bringing us to baseball games, water parks, movies … some stranger than others, and countless other fun times. Dad had his times of challenges, but he overcame them and became a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather to my nephew Luke.
My grandfather, Gil Sr. used to always joke that my cousin and I are so crafty and smart and fun because it “skips a generation”, crediting himself for how we turned out. I hope that grandpa was right. If I have a son, I hope that he turns out to be half the man my father was … caring, thoughtful, articulate, and resourceful … but most of all, filled with life and love.
Dad will truly be missed by all of us, but it is important to remember that he will always be with us. Any time I go to a baseball game, I will remember the numerous times he pulled me out of middle school to go see the
Rockies play. Any time I eat a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich I will remember the story he told me about how he used to break the yolks of the eggs for the Egg McMuffins. And every time I see a friend, family member or colleague, I will remember my dad’s commitment to excellence in everything that he did as a friend, father, and employee … and do my best to make him proud.
I love you, Dad.