As I write this, I am sitting in a cool hotel in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan waiting for my friend, Ramerous, to finish coffee with a colleague.
Ramerous and I flew to NYC together; a big leap from the middle of Iowa to the heart of Manhattan. Ramerous starts a coveted summer internship in finance next week. He applied and was his most amazing self and got a position that most young people would die for. My heart is bursting with pride for him.
Ramerous and I met when he was a senior in high school. He was hoping for a bit of coaching as he prepped for the ACT. So we spent some time together with that as our focus, but that focus soon expanded. Ramerous started to share some of his dreams and goals with me. I strategized how I could help him connect with folks who could provide next steps.
Thus began an unlikely friendship between a middle-aged White woman and a young Black man full of ambition, smarts and unimaginable potential.
Ramerous and I have had quite the journey. We have become great friends. We have taught each other things. We have learned each other's stories. We have showed each other how to see life from different perspectives. We have forged a bond that will last for life. We make each other laugh and tick each other off, like real friends. We talk about politics, religion, race, relationships, families, generational wealth, monetary policy. All the good stuff.
He is one of the most remarkable, inspiring people I know. He flies to Atlanta soon to start his training and then back to the Big Apple to absolutely slay this summer.
I will fly back home, but I will never stop cheering Ramerous on, standing watch in awe and amazement. What a gift he is to me.