Lessons From a Chance Encounter with Joe Torre


Joe Torre BobbleheadThere are some days when you really don’t want to get out of bed. All you want to do is watch your favorite shows on Hulu.com. Today turned out to be one of those days — mostly because a thick fog enveloped the city of San Francisco and turned the morning into a dark haze. Since the daily regimen calls for a visit to the gym, I couldn’t laze around for too long. And I am glad I didn’t, for it turned out to be such a great Saturday.

Post gym, I ended up visiting our local book store, Stacey’s, to buy Blackout, the latest thriller by Brazilian writer Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Next stop, Nordstrom to buy my favorite shaving cream from The Art of Shaving. While browsing the aisles, I saw a man who looked oddly familiar, someone who has been part of my life, walking around the men’s section of the store.

It was Joe Torre – former New York Yankees’ manager, who is in town as his Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants. He was with his wife and daughter, and on the phone. It took me a minute or so to recognize him, mostly because I have never seen him without pinstripes or outside the baseball context. With some trepidation, I walked up to him and introduced myself.

New York media, a pretty tough crowd, has said that Torre is one of the nicest guys and quite a gentleman. He turned out to be both. He was gracious in taking the complement, and a perfect gentleman while shaking my hand. His behavior reminded me of a lesson my parents taught me as a kid — humility and kindness are cornerstones of a civil society.

From the point of view of a startup guy, Torre exemplifies the fact that success and humility must always go hand in hand for people to appreciate one’s achievements. It also taught me another lesson: Life is too short to be spent lazing around. Laze around too much, and miss unknown opportunities and experiences.

Today’s chance encounter has been a standout moment in my life. Torre gave Yankee fans so many great baseball memories. For me these were moments that marked my slow transition to a very American life. The only bad part of today: Torre-less Yankees got pummeled by Anaheim Angels — again!

Joe Torre bobblehead photo via Flickr courtesy of Xero79


Fabian Schonholz

I have come across many famous people but have always opted for letting them be. These occasions where normally at dinner or strolling around. In the end, I value my privacy, so why not value theirs. In any case, there was one time I could not stop myself. I was at LAX coming back from SFO and saw Ruben Blades walking down towards me. I have always liked his music but the man is a total renaissance man. I introduced myself, shuck his hand and continued on. He smiled, introduced himself back. Thank me for the kind words and continued on his way. I have always cherished that moment.


Thats so awesome! I’ve seen some famous people before and when you first see them you have to look twice to actually believe your eyes! Nice work for going an introducing yourself!

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