REST IN PEACE MR. JOHN MCROBERTS
WHO: 29 year old personal trainer meets 67 year old retired insurance broker
WHAT: whole food based supplement
WHERE: 604 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
WHEN: February 2001
WHY: to understand the value
How could something so insignificant create a ripple effect that today impacts so many people all around the world?!
AND... continues to today & will forever.
THAT’s Legacy my friends!
For those who don’t know, John McRoberts is my JuicePlus sponsor. He’s the one who showed me the research behind this whole food supplement when I skeptically asked for proof that it actually works way back in 2001.
John & I used to meet often as I worked at a gym on the Danforth & we’d grab a coffee between my client sessions... most times just chatting about life in general.
What began as a business partnership to help me to host the occasional in-home wellness party, attend events for me to better understand about micronutrition (more often than not, he was either begging me to meet him there because I was “too busy”, “too cool” or a total “no-show”. Sometimes he would even drive to my house to bring me himself!! lol - Boy, was I stubborn w a serious attitude!
But John was WISE! With 67 years, he had a lifetime of experiences that made him an important vessel to learn from!
In his younger years, he was a high level track ATHLETE with hurdles being his talent & even earning a scholarship to the University of Houston!
He was also a DAD & a GRANDFATHER & an immensely proud one! His grandsons played sports & he didn’t want to miss a beat so he thrived on being their chauffeur & #1 fan at all their events! His face would light up whenever he spoke of his family to me.
I met John before having kids myself so our conversations changed over the years and man oh man did he teach me much as I ventured on paths that he’d already journeyed. Part of his gift was that he didn’t lecture or preach… he just shared & was there for support when needed.
John was a GENTLEMAN. Like I’m talking, ladies first, holding doors, respectful language - spending time with John was a true gift.
And he was the eternal OPTIMIST! I lived in Pickering when we first met & so when we planned our coffee meetings I always dreaded trying to find parking on the Danforth because it was nearly impossible - literally!
He used to always say to me, “Now when you’re driving down Jenn, I want you to visualize where you’re going to park. I want you to trust that the parking spot for you will show up, just keep your thoughts there, stay focused & look for the signs.”
And ya know... the perfect parking spot was always there! Always!
He had a favourite word too: the F-word! I use it occasionally but I’m going to be more intentional about making sure I use it everyday to honour my old friend John.
FASCINATING! If someone was rude, mean-spirited or just a jerk... John would simply say, “That’s FASCINATING!”
He knew that no one was worth us letting go of our own character values & dignity & that ultimately, we get to choose how we react in our life.
But as I alluded to earlier... I was short sighted, self serving & without vision. I simply didn’t know, what I didn’t know.
Fortunately for me, John in his wisdom, understood this & despite my endless excuses, ego, push back & quite frankly ignorance, John was LOYAL to his belief in me & incredibly PATIENT because eventually, I did come around.
When we last spoke in December, we joked about my stubborn ways & enjoyed a good chuckle about those early days. He told me how proud he was of me for all my personal growth, achievements & success with our Company & shared that he saw those possibilities & my potential all those years ago. I’m not the kind of person who seeks recognition but man did that make my heart swell hearing him say those words to me.
John knowing my story of struggles understood me because he was also familiar with my journey... we talked about all that too because truth be told, John was a like a father figure to me.
He watched me grow from a “know it all” personal trainer working pay cheque to pay check spinning my wheels getting no where, to a broken woman digging in the dirt of her own pain-filled bull crap, to the top of our Company anchoring into a mission that was “meant for me BECAUSE of my pink ribbon scars”.
You see John was about PEOPLE! When he sat down with me on that winter day over coffee, he wasn’t concerned about me saying no to JuicePlus.
He wasn’t worried that he wasn’t a health “expert” when I started asking questions that he didn’t know the answers to.
He wasn’t thinking why would this 29 year old female personal trainer talk about health w a 67 year old man who could be her father. [Keep in mind, I didn’t even know John - he was referred to me by one of my clients!]
But John didn’t give a rat’s butt about that nonsense!
What he did know was that he had something that could possibly help me & so he took time out of HIS day to meet with me bc I was curious about what JuicePlus was & he simply offered me some information about it.
More than that even, John actually CARED about helping people because John was for people.
Read that again...
John was FOR PEOPLE.
20 years after our first meeting, John passed away last Wednesday. He passed away on my youngest’s 15th birthday. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Claire is an old soul, all about kindness & has an incredible calmness about her. Her perspective is beyond her years & her patient curiosity serves her well in life.
When I opened up the message on Saturday morning to read that John had passed, I was shocked. You know when you just assume that people will be there forever? That.
John & I just spoke in December & he sounded great outside of the fact that he missed going to the gym because of Covid: he was a member of the Granite Club for all the time I knew him & he never missed his workouts! Health was very important to him & that included moving his body everyday. He shared with me that because of the winter weather, it was just too risky for him & his wife to go walking outside on the slippery sidewalks & that he was excited for spring already just to get to do that again! He had the best attitude!
I sat in my chair by the window, sipping my tea trying to digest this news with a lump growing in my throat thinking about his words. The day was just getting started and the sun was already beaming: spring is finally here with the birds chirping & singing their glory but John was not.
John changed my life with a simple act of kindness and not in a little way, but in the most important ways!
My heart has been feeling all the feels of my friend & my only hope is that he knows how grateful I am to have met him all those years ago & how much I value his mentorship despite our paths taking us in different directions in the latter years: he with his grandchildren & me with my children.
I’ve spent much of my weekend reflecting on the conversations we enjoyed including the wisdom of his words & actions. They seem more poignant now because I understand them better in hindsight << isn’t that always the case?
My emotions feel like a roller coaster ride with sadness, tears, laughter but mostly... GRATITUDE. I am so blessed to have been able to call John my friend & because of John, my life has been so very blessed but also... because of John, I have been able to pay those blessings forward for others to benefit.
You see, John was a quiet CHANGE MAKER. Many don’t know even him & yet thousands benefit from his work in some way.
He’s what I call the “Silent Leader”... the one standing at the back of the room, cheering everyone else on, genuinely happy FOR THEM!
No recognitions, special titles or medals.
No “what’s in it for me.”
Just pure joy for THEIR accomplishments! For them overcoming & succeeding!
We’re so conditioned to focus on the people with “the marker” or “the microphone” or those strutting their “brand” on some stage but I want to encourage you all to look at who’s standing WITH you, BESIDE you because they are likely to be a Change Maker just like YOU! And YES, YOU can be a Change Maker too! We ALL are... John IS proof!
John changing my life started by him introducing me to a simple solution for better nutrition because he CARED & I’m so grateful that he did because that one simple action was a pivot that invited me to create my life & be who I am today fully & completely; a present parent, a supportive partner, a teachable leader & ultimately, a conscience human.
My hope is that wherever you are in your journey of life, you have a friend who cares half as deeply as my friend John did for me 20 years ago. To patiently & kindly pursue you because they see YOUR abundance & potential & the ripple effect of all the possibilities of how you can lead a fulfilled life by helping others, in a way that adds to your life... even if you initially see it as a “subtractor”.
Love those friends hard & faithfully… because they CARE intentionally for your good!
As for me, I know I only have to look as far as the back of the room to know John, my Change Maker is there in spirit, proud of the Change Maker I am becoming too!
And truthfully, I can only hope because those are some big shoes to fill!
Love & Gratitude,
PS. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.