The first time I met Kevin, one of the first questions he asked me was, “If you had a superpower, what would it be?”
I don’t recall my answer, but I’ll never forget the stoic way in which he asked it, without so much of a hint of a smile, as if it were the most ordinary question to be asked during a job interview. He sort of just looked at me as if he knew things about me I didn’t know myself. If I had stood up right then and there and told him I could sprout wings and fly I don’t feel like he would have been too surprised.
That was 11 years go.
Since that time, I’ve learned Kevin did know things about me I didn’t realize were there, because that is his superpower. Kevin sees what is invisible to most of the world and brings out the best in everyone. He can see beyond what your eyes tell you are there to possibilities most of us only dream of.
When we first began working together, Kevin seemed to be a fairly serious, no nonsense guy with his dark rimmed glasses and high tech gadgets scattered across his desk. Before too long I realized that while he did shoot straight from the hip (a trait I found both rare and refreshing) he was anything but serious. His dry and witty sense of humor did not take long to emerge, and within 6 months he had me laughing so hard at times that I had to walk out of the office for fear of losing all composure and shedding uncontrollable, hysterical tears of laughter.
And aside from how much fun it was to work with him, it also became obvious to me quite quickly how innovative and skilled he was in so many ways odd ways. He seemed capable of solving just about any random problem and troubleshooting through the day like some sort of Educational Wizard.
Speaking of wizards, he also designs some pretty groovy magic wands from his garage that would impress even the most ardent Harry Potter fan. Another one of his secret skills I bet you didn’t know about.
To be completely honest, I’ve felt a little bit guilty at times for having him as a boss. All those stories you hear of women feeling less-than or devalued because of their gender in the workplace, not given equal opportunities as their male counter-parts. For me, the very opposite was true. Not only did Kevin consistently treat me as an equal, he poured into my growth and training so that I could ultimately take his place, sacrificing his own office for me as he wandered around at times like a nomad, doing his work from whatever little corner of the campus he could find. Really, who does that?
Kevin has gone from being my boss, to my colleague, to my brother and dear friend. I will forever be indebted to him for his hard work, sacrifice and friendship, as will so many others. I will miss his bright orange-rimmed glasses and neon green socks, his movie recommendations that have never steered me wrong, and depth of intelligence and wit that has allowed us to have many deep conversations. I will miss seeing him, tea in hand, wiz by my desk to go save another corner of the world with a brain, heart and soul that never stops making the world a better place.
Kevin, you are honestly one of my favorite people in this world, and I hope you know the difference you’ve made here in the lives of so many. You have the heart of a servant but the power of a superhero which you most often choose not to shine a light on.
Today though, I’m shining that light whether or not you like it. You’ll always be my superhero.
So for one last time, cheers to you my friend, you deserve only the best in this world and the world to come.