Mr. B would show up at noon to open the store, let me in and get the cash register set up. Then, he would go next door to the bar and drink all day long. He would come and check on me maybe once during a five-hour period. So, 13-year-old me is running the store, and what was I selling? Adult magazines and condoms. I will never forget the day a young man comes in and wants condoms. Here I am, pulling out all the different styles onto the counter to show him what’s available, and I’m 13! But, it was the ‘70s in Missouri—it was such an innocent time. I cannot imagine that scenario ever taking place right now.
I worked at a lot of different places in junior high through college, but it wasn’t until much later that I understood the extraordinary lessons of my early jobs. They taught me courtesy and respect and how to communicate, and my whole world is about communication. Everything I do professionally is built on creativity and helping people communicate. But, you have to learn how to deal with different personality types, overcome objections, and deal with obstacles. Well, when you’re 13 and running a drugstore by yourself all day long on a Sunday, there are a lot of opportunities to learn. And you know what? I remember loving every single minute of it.”
—As told to Melanie Pagan