By Chris Johnson
Director of communications
It was 1982. “The Dukes of Hazzard” was my favorite TV show. I was listening to Men At Work on the radio. My cheap dad finally bought a VCR. And I helped someone with a math problem.
Really! I'm not making this up. Yeah, I know I can't help my 11-year-old son with a math problem now, nor could I help him with his second grade math work, nor would I know a quadratic equation if I stepped on it in the backyard. But for one day in 1982, I was considered a math wiz.
There was a new kid at Macon County Junior High School in Oglethorpe, Ga., that year and he had no clue how to even start to find the square root of a number. I know how he must have felt that day because I can't do it now without a calculator. But, in 1982, I did know how to do it.
And when no one, including our seventh-grade math teacher and the top math students, was willing to sit down with him and show him what his previous school should have, I did. I didn't know the kid, and he didn't know me. But I helped him. And when I was walking home, crossing through the crosswalk, he stopped me about the time I got into the middle of the street by yelling from the sidewalk.
“Hey, Chris! Thank you!”
I don't know why that memory has stuck with me through nearly 30 years. Maybe it was because I knew it was heartfelt. Maybe because I'd heard empty “thank yous” so many times before. Maybe because I was still standing in the middle of a crosswalk and was about to get run over by a dump truck. Whatever the reason, it stuck with me.