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Mind Ready Monday: Second Chances

A second chance can change somebody’s life. At least, that’s what my dad always tells me.

Let me explain. 38 years ago a college professor granted my dad a second chance on a final exam. That second chance changed my dad’s life — and ultimately, my own.

As a teenage Israeli immigrant, my dad was the first in his family to go to college. At the time, his siblings were counting on his success for both emotional and financial support.

Fast forward to his senior year at Western Michigan University. He was set to graduate. His [big, big, Greek] family was en route to cheer him on. And he was prepared to accept a first job.

Until he failed a final exam. He wouldn’t graduate.

Devastated, my dad approached the professor, explaining the failed score was due to a combination of misunderstanding the [English-worded] essays, and exhaustion from working three jobs. The professor said he couldn’t merely change the grade. But, he allowed my dad one more shot at taking the exam. He went onto pass and graduate.

The story has been retold time and time again. Had this professor not allowed him to retake the exam, my dad questions whether he could have afforded to stay another semester. He has long credited this professor with giving him the confidence to work, saying…

That individual set the foundation for me because he gave me a second chance. I graduated and had this confident person in me. I was confident enough to go start my own business.

Details aside, my dad went onto build a successful company, allowing him to quietly support others in need. He helps strangers and loved ones alike — providing others a second chance, much like that professor did for him. And similarly, my dad cares for people in ways that will never be documented or rewarded publicly.

Fast forward to this year — when my dad retold the story of the professor to a Michigan reporter, and explained his lifelong effort to find and thank the instructor.

Days later, a few of us were able to [secretly] contact the professor, Eldor Quandt. I insisted he come to LA as a surprise for my dad’s birthday. He happily obliged, and showed up to our family dinner.

Tears were shed. Laughs were had. And we all celebrated the power of a second chance.

Because sometimes, a second chance really can change somebody’s life… [seize the opportunity when you’re given one — and then vow to spend a lifetime granting second chances to others].

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Laurens-Lyst-Second-Chances

Photos by Annie Shak