image taken on some hotel bed somewhere in Tulsa, Oklahoma

This spring I got a phone call from my good friend and IdeaMensch supporter Jeff Unger. He said that I might be getting an email from his son Adam, a freshman at Ithaca college, was very interested in coming with us on our road trip across America. Jeff told me that he’d appreciate if I talked to him, but that I should feel in no way obligated in taking him on this trip.

A few days later Adam and I had a Skype call. At this point I had probably talked to 100+ people about this road trip and with no exception, Adam was more excited than anyone else – that includes myself.

One of my rules in life is to only surround myself with people who have a positive attitude. Well, Adam had that, times a million.

So despite his lack of experience with just about anything, I told him that if he wanted to do this – it would be my honor to have him on board. And by on board, I mean in the backseat of our Element.

Reading about today’s generation of college kids, one can get the impression that everybody feels entitled, that nobody wants to work hard and that as a society we’re looking at pretty bleak future.

Well, I don’t know many 19-year-olds. But I can tell you that if today’s college kids are half as talented, hard-working and driven as Adam Unger – we are going to be just fine.

Over the past two months:

  • Adam was the single most hard working Mensch in our Element – again including myself.
  • Adam made hundreds of cold calls, wrote thousands of emails and ultimately helped land enough sponsorships to get us across America.
  • Adam fed pigs, watered them, shot one, gutted it and then made a heart sandwich.
  • Adam got his heart broken by more than one Chamber of Commerce. And a French girl in Missoula, Montana.
  • Adam convinced a saddle maker and a fur trader to do an interview with us. Why do you think he’s wearing a Cowboy hat?
  • Adam greeted thousands of guests to our events, manning the front desk and oftentimes being the first point of contact with our brand.
  • Adam drank gallons of Red Bull and ate hundreds of chicken wings. He proved to me that you can have an ulcer and have your hot wings too.

Throughout all of it, Adam didn’t complain once. His positive attitude kept us going many a times.

Last week Adam returned to Ithaca College. The back of the Element seems eerily quiet and I have no idea how we’re going to replace the 16 hours of work he put in every day.

I am very proud of what Adam helped us accomplish so far. But most of all, I am just really proud of Adam.

Thank you Adam. We couldn’t have done any of this without you.

See you in New York City.