In 2015 I started at ScriptPro working on the help desk. Coming off of the layoffs at Worldspan I had a little trepidation with this new technology company but went in anxious to learn and hoping to make a name for myself. My first day was November 1st, 2005 where I met a few friendly people but spent most of my day with HR and in training. After 6 long weeks I was ready to side by side with someone in my department and was paired with a lanky fellow named Steve.
Steve had been with the company for a couple of years already and was one of the go to people when the supervisors wanted to pair a new employee up with a veteran. Steve was welcoming, casual and incredibly helpful both to me and the customers. We had a "Y" cable that allowed me to listen in as he spoke to the callers without them hearing. I remember several folks that day new him from the moment he answered the phone and were excited to get him. He showed me the ropes and introduced me to a lot of my new co-workers. A friendship was born that day and before long we were hanging out on breaks and going on walks to shoot the breeze. We must have crisscrossed Mission, KS a thousand times listening to each others stories about work, family, movies and more.
A few years later I went through an emotional divorce and our friendship took a big leap forward as Steve offered a shoulder to lean on. He went out of his way to invite me to hang out. I went from my parent's house to college and right into living with my girlfriend (eventual wife) so living alone was new for me. I struggled with it at first and was often depressed when my kids were with their mom so having that fun pal to hang out with meant more to me than I think he knew. We overlapped in a lot of interests and tastes so it was simple for us to find things to do. Sushi, board games, Geocaching, Munzee, movies, etc. we almost never argued and always found the joy in the moment. We even share a major celebrity crush on Christina Ricci.
It didn't take long for Steve to start hanging out with me when I had my kids and he was almost immediately given the title of "Uncle Steve". "Monkey Phat" as he's also known is an annual guest for Christmas where he gives amazing gifts (very clearly wrapped by a bachelor) and has been my co-pilot on countless adventures. We've traveled to his home state of Wisconsin where we stayed with his brothers family, to see his folks in Tennessee and all points in between for Geocaching.
Life has had it's ups and downs for both of us but we always end up hanging out again. He is considered a member of this family, is proudly displayed in family photos in our house and will always have a seat at our table. Today he turns 50 and fingers crossed he's around another 50!