Streaming along toward Sanford Stadium, awash in the red and black homecoming crowd, I discovered the splendor of the unexpected. Facing the onslaught of UGA fans and smattering of Vanderbilt supporters, with the beckoning stadium in the background, was a man dressed in a business suit, sans suit coat, holding a briefcase and handing out flyers to anyone showing interest.
A consummate dodger of salesmen, I studied the scene without making eye contact; thus avoiding obligation to accept his pushed-paper. The installation of UGA VIII was slated for the 50-yard line, and hunting a trash receptacle for a flyer seemed a needless distraction on such an historic day. Drawing closer, however, it became very clear that this man wasn't just any dawg-to-dawg salesman.
At 10 years old, Travis Braun, like many 10 year-olds do, asked his parents if he could have a television; his very own television. As a result, Travis had to sit through the tried-and-true traditional money-doesn't-grow-on-trees talk. He had to listen to his parents explain that if a person wants something he works for it, etc., etc.; a speech that causes children's shoulders to slump and their minds to wander and generally widens the gulf between youth and wisdom for the next decade.
Even so, Travis Braun really, really wanted a TV. And can't never crossed his mind. He applied for a job delivering newspapers on foot in his home-state, South Dakota. Over the next 6 months he saved his earnings and bought himself that television. Two remarkable things happened after that: 1) He didn't quit once he achieved his goal. He finished the drill, keeping his paper route through sweltering summers and below-freezing winters, until at age 14 he got a "real" job unloading semi-trucks. 2) His television outlived the gulf between youth and wisdom and was still around when the crevice closed in 2000, at which time the University of Georgia awarded him a BBA in international business with concentrations in management and German.
At age 34, laid off from his job as Regional Sales Representative and Project Manager this past September, Travis Braun sat in Sanford Stadium during the Arkansas game, taking part in the ritual Saturday home-game gathering of the Bulldog Nation, thinking about life lessons: Work for what you want, don't quit when the first goal is achieved, take care of what you've got. These lessons rang true when he was 10, when he was 14 and when he was paying his way through the University of Georgia, and he kept faith in them now. The cogs of creativity cranked in his head.
Can't never crossed his mind.
And that's how I came to find him standing, for his second Saturday in a row, in the Mecca of alumnae networking, handing out his rÃ©sumÃ© to potential employers. Students high-fived him and offered to stand with him, next to his sign reading, Help This Dawg Find a Job. Folks from the opposing team encouraged, "I hope you're the only Dawg who wins today!" His brief case lightened by about 250 rÃ©sumÃ©s.
The way I see it, not only has he revealed his innovativeness, character, determination and work ethic, but he has also brought luck back to the Bulldog Nation, sparking a winning streak for the team when he set himself on a course for success. Let's return the favor to this outside-of-the-stadium thinker and help this dawg find a job. (By the by, he doesn't draw lines in the SEC sand, so if anyone from the other side has an opening, he'd sure love to hear from you, too.)
How 'Bout that Dawg!
(Can you help Travis Braun find a job? E-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org, for his contact information and his complete résumé. There's so much more to him than the 600 words you read here! Lucy Adams is a columnist, freelance writer, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny.)