by Mariah Rittel
“Whatever goes around, comes around,” V.J. Smith exclaimed to the crowd, kicking off the YP Network’s first ever “Epic Impact” event on Tuesday, November 18. Smith proceeded to captivate the crowd with stories — stories that were chock-full of life lessons. All of these lessons centered on a man named Marty, a man who had a profound impact on Smith, inspiring him to write the book The Richest Man In Town, and changed his life forever. Smith then went on to give an inspirational presentation about the lessons Marty taught him and which, in turn, he now tells to people all over the country.
Smith believes the most important word in the world is “care.” Care even trumps the word “love” because, according to Smith, it is included in care. Everyone is judged by this word. We are judged by how much we care about our job, how much we care about our relationships, how much we care about ourselves and much more. Smith said that if you care, you take an extra step for others.
Hustle is an offshoot of the word care. Smith believes when people care, they are willing to hustle, to take it up a notch. This means that people move quicker for others and themselves. In Smith’s story about a slow walking manager, he said to the manager, “You will not make it far in this job or any job if you don’t hustle.” Smith then discussed his experience with a Dallas bus driver that hustled for his customers. In the end, the bus driver received more thanks and bigger tips because he hustled for them.
Say Thank You and Be Grateful
One of the most important lessons Smith emphasized in his presentation was to always say “thank you.” In fact, he grabbed stacks of small cards at the front of the auditorium and threw them into the crowd to further emphasize this lesson. The small yellow, green, and pink cards sprawled throughout the auditorium were decorated with the words “thank you” on both sides. We all like to be thanked, not just for others but for ourselves as well. I learned that you won’t believe how good you will feel when you say thanks. Smith exclaimed, “Being grateful is life changing.”
After these three major life lessons, Smith reached the point in the presentation to tell the impactful story of his dear friend Marty. Marty was a simple cashier clerk at Wal-Mart in Brookings, South Dakota who did things a little differently. He took the extra step, hustled for his customers, and always remained grateful. Over the course of a few months, Smith checked out through Marty’s line and constantly witnessed Marty take an extra step for his customers. Marty asked how his customers were doing and actually listened to them. When he had to give change, he would walk around the counter to give customers a handshake, and sincerely thank them. Marty was teaching lessons on life to everyone who came through his line.
One day, Smith decided to send a letter to the CEO of Wal-Mart to tell him about the great work this one employee was doing for the company. Little did Smith know, that one letter would change his life. Eventually, Marty received praise due to that letter and wanted to meet the man that wrote it. Once Smith met Marty an incredible friendship was born. Over the course of their friendship, Smith learned what made Marty tick, what made him so happy, and how much of an impact he had on thousands of people who came through his line. Smith ultimately learned that Marty had a home that was paid off, no debt, $30,000 in the bank, and funeral expenses paid off. And what made him so happy? He worked hard and was good to people. Marty was indeed the richest man in town.
The following reflects some of Marty’s most important lessons:
- Relationships matter most in life.
- In life you have to try to do a little bit more. A lot of people talk about going the extra mile, that’s too far. It just takes a step.
- People need to decide to be happy.
Marty’s life as a cashier at Wal-Mart inspired thousands of people. With Smith’s book and his presentations, Marty continues to teach these lessons to thousands of people all over the world.
“In life you get what you give. When good things come back to you, you get happy and when you’re happy you’ll always be the richest man in town.” – V.J. Smith
To learn more about V.J. Smith, visit his website vj-smith.com.