Mike Smukula, a good friend of mine, used to work at the Albuquerque Auto Auction. One day at the auction in 2004, he was run over, when a man, driving a car across the parking lot at 45 mph, had a heart attack and died. The accident fractured my friend’s skull, rupturing his brain.
His colleagues from work called an ambulance. When the paramedics in the ambulance saw the seriousness of his condition, they called a helicopter. But when the helicopter arrived, the advanced medical team on board said there was no reason to take him. His condition was too severe. He was going to die. He’d never make it to the hospital-not even in a fast helicopter.
They turned the helicopter off and tried to make Mike comfortable. But his friends and colleagues intervened. “You don’t know this guy,” they said. “You’ve got to take him. He will fight this. He will live.” They made the medical team turn the helicopter back on and rush him to the hospital anyway. Because they knew Mike was just that kind of person. He had that kind of determination.
And do you know, he’s alive right now? He’s stronger than ever. He’s still in pain and he is still learning how to recover, but he’s thankful to be alive. And he keeps asking the question, “What can I learn from this? How can I help other people grow?” He never asks, “Why me?”
He’s always talking about how he can help other people overcome the same kind of situation. He’s got a powerful, positive mental attitude toward life. At work, he overcame everything that came his way. There’s nothing he can’t accomplish. All day long, he’s saying to himself, “How can I take this and turn it into a golden opportunity to help people learn?” He’s a powerful inspiration to me.