A couple years ago I walked the BEA show floor with my good friend Barbara. At that time she was the photographer who did the still shots for Project Runway. I knew Project Runway was a cable TV show, but that was about it.
At one point we bumped up against a large, stationary crowd and overheard a woman say "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to meet Tim Gunn!" Barb's ears perked up. She hadn't known Tim Gunn was going to be at BEA or that his book was soon to be published.
Could we stand in this line to get a copy? Well, sure. Why not. (I hate hate hate standing in line but you do things for friends sometimes just cause they're the ones who remind you not to gnaw on strangers when you're about to commit a chompx-pas.)
So, there we were. We didn't have to wait terribly long; the booth staff did a nice job moving the line along. Soon we were at the signing desk.
Tim looked up and said "Oh hello Barbara!"
Barbara replied "How nice to see you!"
Pleasantries exchanged including "And I'd like you to meet my friend Janet"
"So nice to meet you!"
Would we like our books signed?
Yes indeed we would but Barb had the clever idea to give them to two friends who were devoted Project Runway fans.
So yes, we'd like to have the books signed, but to Vivian and Stella.
Sign he did.
More pleasantries, then we said our good byes, and Tim Gunn looked at me and said "So nice to meet you, Janet" and off we went.
And if you think this is a story about how cool it was to meet Tim Gunn, please remember I had no clue who he was.
But I was impressed. And it was cool. Cause he remembered my name. Remembered Barb's too...even when she popped up completely out of context. He'd only seen her on the show behind a camera snapping photos. They weren't besties or anything. He was the star. She was crew.
And he remembered MY name: a total stranger. A stranger's name AFTER he heard two completely different names and signed books to them. With no prompting.
At first I thought maybe he just read our BEA badges. Then I realized neither of us had our badges visible. I was damn impressed.
Not by his fame, but by Tim Gunn the man; a man who remembered names. And made me feel like he was glad to meet me. And it turns out, he's known for remembering everyone's name on Project Runway too. This wasn't an aberration. This was how he is.
I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tim Gunn that has nothing to do with how terrific he is on Project Runway.
Thus, it broke my heart in pieces to see this segment of "It Gets Better." When he was 17 Tim Gunn was in despair. And tried to take his life.
That a man of this caliber could be lost to us makes me furious with fear.
Tim Gunn means a lot to me, and he doesn't have a clue that he does.
If you too are in despair remember you will be Tim Gunn to someone. Someone you may never know. It's important to be here for your life. You may never know why. You may never know the effect you have on people -- the POSITIVE effect on people -- but you must be here for it to happen.
You are Tim Gunn to someone. Don't miss out. Don't let ME miss out.
When you need help to remember this, people want to help you. Here's a link to them: The Trevor Project.