Editor’s Note: December 2009 - Tsunamis
Author: Maggie Washo
It is impossible to know how important someone will be in your life when you first make their casual acquaintance. The first words I remember coming out of Pierce Lowrey’s mouth were, “When are you going to come work for me young lady?” I was sitting at the bar at CQ’s and was introduced by my then boyfriend to this jolly Santa Claus look-alike. It was several years before I took him up on his offer. But in September of 2001, when I did, I started to understand the meaning of the word mentor.
At the time, our office was on Squire Pope Road—an old furniture warehouse that hardly spoke of the success he had in the restaurant business, but then, showy displays of ostentation were never Pierce’s style. I truly believe he worked because he loved a new challenge and he loved people. He had a “feeling” about certain people, and he took a chance on them, treating them as family and teaching them everything he had learned about business and life in general.
Working with Pierce never really felt like working. From the jokes he would start every meeting off with to his constant whistling through the hallways, each day was a new adventure and filled with much lightheartedness. He truly believed if you weren’t enjoying what you were doing, you wouldn’t excel at it. Every so often he would ask me, “Are you still happy? Are you having fun?” To Pierce, that couldn’t have been more important, as was reflected in the amount of time he spent working. He just really enjoyed it.
I watched him get away with things that no other person could possibly get away with—whether it was the deal of the century that he charmed someone into giving him, or making some comment that was totally offensive, but acceptable only because he was saying it. One particular event is burned into my brain as one of the funniest Pierce moments I can remember. A few years ago, we were having a creative meeting, and Elizabeth Reed, our resident “green girl,” came to the table suggesting starting a regular column covering earth-friendly topics, such as recycling. “That recycling stuff is a crock for Democrats,” remarked Pierce without skipping a beat. I still can’t tell you which I laughed harder at: the expression on Elizabeth’s face or the fact that Pierce was just so matter-of-fact in his opinions.
I can only think how lucky I am to have come into contact with such a wise, motivated, creative individual. Fortunately I was smart enough to realize the “gifts” he was giving in every little lesson he taught.
People create little waves when they come in and out of your life. The impact a person can have on your life is great or small, depending on your connection and how their influence changed your life or thinking.
To me, Pierce Lowrey was a tsunami.