My Mom kept a log – which is shocking to read for everyone.
On April 1, 2014, this day last year, someone called me and asked me to cover for him at Best Buy in Westbury, NY. I went in to work.
A customer me asked for something, perhaps a monitor. There were none left in the store, so looked it up in the inventory system RSS and saw we had them in the warehouse behind the store. Needed to bring them out for the customer and to restock the shelf.
Went into the warehouse behind the store and pushed the ladder with the platform at the top to get it. But my path was blocked by inventory left in the warehouse and and not put away, so the ladder could not be pushed over. How could the monitors be gotten without the ladder? The only option was to climb on the shelf and carry the inventory back to the ladder.
Climbed up on the shelf like I had done before – always being very careful – because it was dangerous with a long fall to the floor if I slipped and feel..
(Please note this sad but true fact: If my path was not blocked by inventory left on the floor, would not have needed to climb on the shelf. Could have pushed the ladder over and taken the inventory from the ladder, and the fall would never have happened.)
Something happened (I have no memory of it) and I fell from the 10 foot high shelf to the concrete floor. Fell on my right side and nearly tore off my right ear and ripped my dress shoes.
6 ribs were broken, my spine was cracked in 2 places and I had a concussion. After some time, I was finally found (It was April Fools Day and people thought they were kidding when told of my accident.) and I was later told I tried to get up despite my awful condition.(Instinct in action clearly.)
They called an ambulance, which picked me up and took me to an emergency room in Mineola, NY.
I later heard that Scott, the store manager in Westbury at the time, was in tears when he told the Best Buy team the next day what had happened in the store. So sorry Scott.
An ambulance took me to Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola in intensive care. Near death with pneumonia in both lungs and a respirator up my nose.
I was essentially dead. I was in intensive care for a long time, as I was very badly injured.
So many people prayed for me to recover and came to visit, including my ex-wife and her mom who stayed with me all night and my Notre Dame roommate (Thank you so much!). A priest gave me final respects (I’m a Catholic and Notre Dame grad.).
My first memory was when 2 ambulance drivers came into my room and told me “We’re taking you to SouthSide Hospital” (Acute brain injury). Felt every bump and it really hurt a LOT on the ride to Southside Hospital. Very, very sore.
But I got so much support from so many people, it was utterly amazing. Countless prayers from so many people. Thank you everyone!
Everything changed for me after I read a book.
My son gave me a book called Never Give Up by Tedy Bruschi, former linebacker for the New England Patriots. It was about how Ted recovered from a heart condition and went back to the NFL and played more.
Read it and thought “If the doctors and nurses don’t know how to cure me, maybe Tedy can do it!” Thank you Matt and Tedy for this great book as they inspired me.
Worked my proverbial ass off in physical therapy and finally recovered from my hard work based on the stair story.
The Stair Story
Walked up 6 steps and I was exhausted and out of breath. “Great job, Jeff!” said the physical therapist. Almost everyone would have accepted that compliment, but not me.
I replied “Thanks so much but tomorrow I’m going up twice. The next day three times. Then 4 times, 5 times, and so forth.” It took two weeks of hard work and up and downs, but went up 12 times without resting 2 weeks later..
That turned in story published by Salesforce on the Awesome Power of Attitude. It was also profiled in Notre Dame magazine in Winter 2014. “You rock Jeff.:)
Who’s Fault The Accident Happened?
Sad but simple. Had Best Buy put away the inventory in the warehouse, could have pushed the ladder over and used the platform, but they didn’t. In fact, they got busted by OSHA.
This is why I climbed on the shelf – to get the monitors and carry them back to the ladder. Something happened and I fell, but I have no memory of it.
Also thankful that Workers Compensation in New York State covered all the expenses of this tragedy.
Got divorced from Kathy and moved to Florida to be near my mom.
I’m also a Notre Dame grad (yep a marketing degree) and that is a lifetime long promise to my great Alma Mater. Go Irish! The Notre Dame women’s team is in the Final Four in Tampa this weekend.
Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing who’s a good friend, wrote a story called How I Work about this on his marketing blog which talked about my injury, so I hope you’ll check it out as well as this marketing award won last year from Brand Quarterly magazine.
Here’s a good Slideshare on Content Marketing Best Practices as well presented to help you grow your business. Slideshare is now owned by LinkedIn.
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