There I was, sitting in an edit room, trying to output last-minute changes to the show I’m working on. I get a call on my cell. Even with the ringer turned off it bugged the crap out of me – I *hate* interruptions when I’m focusing on technically detailed tasks. Furthermore, I didn’t recognize the number.
“Hello, Matt?” says the voice on the other end.
“Yes.” I said, wanting to keep the conversation as brief as possible.
“My name is Leonard. I have something for you. From [the name of a prominent film/tv payroll company].” he said.
I scratched my head…I just got my cheque yesterday and I haven’t even cashed it yet.
“Um…I’m not expecting a cheque – what’s this regarding?”
I was suspicious – this payroll company doesn’t personally deliver *anything*.
“I’m at Queen and Bathurst – are you at home?”
“No – I’m on the east end.” I responded, not appreciating the confusion.
He insisted on meeting, though he also insisted he only had a half-hour until he had to go home. Meanwhile, I’m thinking to myself: what the hell is going on?. We agreed to meet at a mutual location, a post production house @ Adelaide and Sherbourne. All the while, I’m irritated and flummoxed as to who the hell it is and what the hell is going on [sidenote: contrary to what most people think film/tv work is about, this is me: all business].
When I get to the post house, I told the receptionist: “Okay…” I rolled my eyes, “…there’s this guy, named Leonard. He’s got some sort of cheque or package for me – I haven’t any clue. If you could please let me know when he comes in, that would be grand.”
I proceeded to go to my workstation. Soon enough, the receptionist calls. Leonard is here. I go to the foyer, not sure what to expect, and sure enough there is a young gentleman sitting there, smiling. It’s a smile that you don’t attribute to someone I anticipated being a gofer for a payroll company. Then I noticed he was dressed in clothing I would not necessarily attribute to a gofer for a payroll company – a cream coloured vest with matching dress pants.
“Here you go.” he smiled.
It was an envelope…a cheque was inside. Scribbled on the cheque were the directions I’d given him to the post house. Then I looked at the date on the cheque. Then I looked at him and then it dawned on me…
“You don’t work for [..], do you?”
“No.” he smiled.
It dawned on me that, earlier that day, when I was doling out cheques to the sound editors, I’d tucked mine in my back pocket. It must’ve fallen-out. This man had travelled half-way across town to return my cheque. He didn’t know me. He’d called the production office and they’d given him my cell number. Remembering what he’d said about “going home”, and taking note of his attire, my guess is that he had just finished a work-shift somewhere.
I couldn’t believe it.
I shook his hand in shock and thanked him profusely, not believing what had just happened. I also gave him $20 for travel expenses – it was all the money I had on me.
I still can’t believe it.
It is circumstances like this which remind me how unpredictable, and sometimes miraculous, the events of the world can be. Indeed, it is people like Leonard who set the bar for the rest of us. I rushed to my laptop to post this; it’s the least I can do.
Thank-you, Leonard. Wherever you are.