In the late 1980s I did some marketing work for Tony – yes that’s right the Tony Bennett, one of the greatest singers in the history of the world. Tony is a world-class artist and I had a reputation as a marketing genius, so together we were unstoppable. I helped him market his work around the country for several months and we had an incredible time.
Tony Bennett is one of those rare human beings who everybody loves. For such a reputable man, I asked him why he never had any enemies, and he said he’s nice to everybody so why shouldn’t people be nice to him. He lived by the slogan “treat others the way you want to be treated” – something I admired immensely.
While I worked for Tony, people would call and say they met him once forty years ago and Tony would actually remember the encounter – it was astonishing! He’d say, “Oh yes, I remember that,” as if he had the clearest memory in the world, which it seemed he did. I even had the honor of visiting Tony in his own home after one of the shows I’d helped him with in Atlanta. That’s where I met Coretta Scott King.
I just couldn’t believe it. I was meeting with the wife of one of the greatest icons in our country’s history – it was like a dream. And before I could even pinch myself, Mrs. King invited me to come back to Atlanta to tour the King Center. Now, they didn’t have iPhones back then so I wasn’t able to capture the absolute beauty of the place like we can these days, but can you imagine a personal tour of the King Center with the Coretta Scott King? Who gets to do that? It was priceless.
Mrs. King was a wonderfully kind woman and even signed one of her husband’s books for me, it’s now one of my most prised possessions. I’ll never forget that spectacular evening at Tony Bennett’s – you really never know what can happen in the blink of an eye.
Some days I can’t help but just look in the mirror and see how lucky I am.