I’d known Blake for almost my entire career of 36 years with the company and have tons of memories, but my all time favorite was when he met my youngest daughter when she was about 10. She’s now almost 25. By that time Blake was already on the “green mile.” I happened to be visiting the 6th floor that day and had her in tow. I introduced them to each other and we went into his office and he invited us to sit down. After the usual pleasantries he asked my daughter for her advice about a question a customer asked of him. This customer – who was a big N fan – asked Blake if the company would please sponsor her wedding. My daughter asked Blake if he knew the customer. Blake said no, so my daughter told Blake, “Well if you don’t know her why would you pay for her wedding?” Blake seemed quite pleased with that answer and as only Blake could do, he seemed truly sincere in wanting her opinion. Then Blake went on to tell my daughter about his best selling day on the BP Shoe floor. He had hurt his finger or hand and was heavily bandaged. He said he sold more shoes that day than he ever had before. Customers even carried their own boxes of shoes up to the wrap desk. Blake said it was probably because they felt sorry for him! Here’s one of the hardest working, busiest people I know spending about 20 minutes or so with a 10 year old. Just shootin’ the breeze. My daughter left that meeting believing she helped solve a tricky problem. Blake will be remembered for many things; his business acumen, his candor, his sense of humor, his work ethic, his community service, but what I will miss the most is his gift for connecting with people, making them feel important.

Vickie Woo