A few years ago I was doing a production job for a client. When I'm not writing novels I make ads and do creative stuff with brands, and for this particular job I was hired to sit in an edit suite for 2 days with a video editor and cut together a brand reel. Anyway, the first freelance editor on the job did NOT want to be there. He sat there for two hours complaining about the job and telling me that this gig was beneath him and that he was better than this (not thinking he was insulting me in the process, but hell, when you get a bread and butter gig you do it!) Anyway, after two hours this editor walked out on the job... when you're on a deadline to produce something, that is a HUGE professional no-no, it basically leaves everyone high and dry with a looming deadline and no editor.
Enter a fast replacement freelance editor named Kristian Anderson. For the next day and a half Kristian and I cut together one of the best reels I've ever produced. Not only was he fast and professional and skilled, he was also one of the NICEST people I have ever met in my life. You know how sometimes you just meet people and you think, you are a good person, why aren't there more people like you out there. He told me about his lovely wife and family and how he had just started his freelance career and wanted my advice on the freelance world to make sure he had made the right decision and could make enough money for his family. At the end of the session we swapped numbers, but unfortunately I haven't had reason to call on Kristian's skills since then.
Then the other day he popped up on the news.
A short time after I worked with him, Kristian was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer. Knowing that such a good person has to go through such a painful experience breaks my heart. But the reason Kristian was in the news was because he has turned this painful experience into a life-changing one. Below is a video he made for his wife's birthday telling her how much he loves her and thanking her for all her love and support during their trying time. Amazingly, Kristian somehow persuaded the New Zealand Prime Minister and even Hugh Jackman to appear in the video! Not only that, when Oprah came to Australia recently she was so moved by Kristian's video that she invited Kristian on the show and gave him and his wife a cheque for $250,000 so they wouldn't have to worry about money while they go through this experience together.
This isn't a story about fame or being given a truckload of money, it's about passing on the good stuff. Whenever Oprah does something generous, she does it in the hope that generosity—or kindness or hope or a good twist of Fate—is passed on down the line, no matter how big or small it is. It's tragic that a guy as nice as Kristian has been struck with cancer, but he put his story of love and strength and hope out there, then Hugh Jackman made it bigger, then Oprah made it bigger still. So hopefully others will find love and strength and hope too. I guess that's the point of this post: pass on the good stuff, pass on hope.
I only met Kristian because I had to first work with a guy who was the complete opposite of Kristian. A good twist of Fate. I wish Kristian and his family well!