How FGCU's Mr. Green Became An Inspiration To All

How FGCU's Mr. Green Became An Inspiration To All

We all can take a little something from this man's contagious smile and attitude, but who is he really?
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We all know the man who brightens your morning as you drive onto FGCU’s campus welcoming your day with a warm smile and a friendly wave.

That man is Mr. Green. Whether it’s rushing to that 8:00 a.m. that you were contemplating staying in your comfy bed instead or grabbing a quick bite at Einstein’s, you can’t miss him.


I was intrigued by Mr. Green’s positivity and I wanted to know more about him. I thought, “This man must have some interesting and inspiring words to share” and he did.

Mr. Green made his way all the way from Oil City, Louisiana to Fort Myers, Florida. He received a full ride to Morris Brown College in 1973 as a star football player, then due to injury, he left and attended UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbra). He earned a Master’s degree, volunteered in less fortunate areas to enrich lives in need, and served in the U.S. Air Force.

One day, in 2003, he received a phone call while living in Texas to teach 7th Grade Geography at Bonita Springs Elementary School. This ultimately led him to the Information Booth at Florida Gulf Coast University where we see him today.

“I got a master’s degree, military experience, I’ve traveled the world, and I ended up here.”-Mr. Green

You must wonder, “Why?”

Originally, UCSB wanted Mr. Green to attend their school but it was too expensive for him. He told them, “Man that’s a lot of money. I’m not all that bright, but I got a lot of common sense.” UCSB ended up giving him scholarships and grants because of his display of fortitude and ambition.

I asked Mr. Green what his favorite part of his job was, and he responded, “The people. Any kind of person. My history, culture, and experiences have introduced me to be all these types of people. Computers and technology are just tools, but people are the focus.”

His mother, Mattie Green, recently told him, “You know the streets and the other side.”

No one tells him to stand out there at 7:00 a.m. each morning and he doesn’t get paid extra for it either, so why does he do it?

His reasoning was that each day prior to doing this, he would watch as people drove onto campus and they passed the Information Booth with frowns on their faces.

He wanted to be the one to turn their day around. So one day, he decided to be the reason someone may smile. He waves to each individual that passes, not overlooking one person.

We talked about his family back home in Louisiana. His Grandmother would say to him, “You must always do right and have a good heart. Never let the devil stay too long.”

Grandmothers always seem to give the best advice, right? He listened to his Grandmother's advice and displays her words through his acts of selflessness for others.

Part of his inspiration for this gesture is his reminiscences of his times in Oil City, Louisiana. The houses were on dirt roads where he lived. People sat outside on their porch each morning and waved as cars and people passed through.

It was a tradition in his town and it’s the best display of Southern hospitality if you ask me. As he shouted and clapped with enthusiasm, he mentioned he told his parents when he was about nine-years-old, “I just need to be happy and ice cream makes me happy.”

We ended up sharing our love for ice cream together (his favorite being Butter-Pecan, yum) and also bonded over our favorite music. He showed me his favorite Classic Jazz artist, Paul Hardcastle and I showed my favorite artist, being John Mayer. (Watch out, John Mayer’s got a new fan now!!)

He said proudly, “The kitchen is the most important place in my house."

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Green. There’s always room for dessert even if your belly is screaming no.

Numerous people passed through as I sat in the booth with him. All the way from bike riders going for their morning ride through campus, to people in need of assistance. Some people he referred to by name, but most were strangers.

Stranger or not, he acted as if they have been friends for a lifetime. He did so while introducing me to each person as well and made me feel appreciated.

Ed Nolan pulled up to the Information Booth in his car and was eager to add his two-cents in about Mr. Green. He said, “He’s my favorite person to see when I get off the plane.”

“It’s not about how you live, it’s about life. We try to make our livelihood better but we need to make life better.” Mr. Green said.

His uplifting attitude should remind everyone that passes him during their daily commute to our beautiful campus to take a step back and appreciate today. Having compassion and a kind heart towards others will ultimately bring you good things in your life.

I firmly believe that what you put into this world you will receive. We all need to be a little more like Mr. Green, have good intentions for your actions and love each other and life without limit.

Mr. Green said, “When I get a voice telling me to do something I believe it’s from upstairs, and everything always works out.”

Trust that voice in your head and do what makes you happy, whether it may be a big leap or not, you never know until you try.

So go and apply for that leadership position, take that internship, study abroad in your dream country, do whatever that makes you happy. Happiness isn’t defined through materialistic items, but rather the moments we share with others.

His philosophy is, “Putting righteousness before me, history with me, and the wind at my back. As a warrior, you always want the wind on your back, because when you fight you want victory but never the wind in your face because it knocks you down.”

In the short amount of time that I spent with Mr. Green, I got to see a little of what his day is like “behind the scenes”. I came to discover that this is a man with a huge heart. He showed me this through his personal experiences and amusing stories.

Enjoy the little things in life and take a step back once in a while to reflect on what you are grateful for.

We tend to always yearn for more but we will never be satisfied if we don’t learn to appreciate what we already have. Remember, you can do anything if you are kind and mindful of others. Life is measured in part by the joy you bring into lives other than your own.

Everyone has had their fair share of hard times, but what is important is that you overcome them with clarity and share what you have learned to help others. Give more than you receive.


Tell the people you hold near and dear to your heart that you love them because there’s no better feeling than accreditation and appreciation.


I can gratefully say I have made a new friend after this encounter. I suggest you all do the same, even if you don’t attend FGCU! It’s as easy as rolling your window down, saying hello or giving a little honk as you pass by. His charisma and heart will inspire you.

I promise if you’re feeling a little down one day, this is the man to go to that will turn grey skies blue.

A smile and a wave goes a long way. The FGCU student body appreciates you, Mr. Green, for spreading love and positivity every morning.

Thank you for your service. Keep doing what you do by keeping the spirit of FGCU and its students alive!

“You know you my friend.”

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10 Reasons Why My Mom Is My Hero

She's also my best friend.
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My mom is pretty darn special. And I'd be kidding myself to say that I tell her enough how much I appreciate her. There aren't enough breaths in the day to thank her for all that she has done for me, and all that she will do for me. So this is for my momma, these are just a few of the reasons why I think she's pretty great.

1. I can talk to her about anything.

I know for a fact that no matter the issue and no matter the story, my mom will listen to the entire thing with nothing but compassion in her heart. I don't ever need to wonder if she will judge me because I know for a fact that she never will.

2. She gives the best hugs.

I don't care if I saw her yesterday or if I've been away for three months; my mom will always hug me like she hasn't seen me in years, and there isn't a better feeling in the world.

3. I have never met a more selfless person.

She has such a heart for others and I am constantly blown away by her devotion and passion for serving those around her. If I (or anyone else) needs anything, my mom is the first one to jump up, drop everything, and run to help. If I have half as much generosity as my mom someday, I know that I would be making a huge difference.

4. I am inspired by her.

Always.

5. She cares so much for me.

I know that no matter how old I grow to be, and how mature I may become, my mom will always be there for me. She will always be waiting with open arms to either congratulate me or console me. I have never felt more loved by any other human than I do by my mom.

6. She loves me unconditionally.

I will never ever need to worry that she will stop loving me. No matter the circumstances, no matter the phase of life that I'm in, my mom will always be there for me, loving me every step of the way.

7. She is my number one cheerleader.

I don't think I will every meet another person more dedicated to my success and ready to celebrate my accomplishments than my mom. She is hands-down my biggest supporter and will always be standing at the finish line of whatever race I may be running. I could be crawling across that finish line and she'd still be cheering for me the whole way.

8. I can always count on her to point me in the right direction.

My mom will pray for me. She'll encourage me. She will lead by example and through the counseling that she is always ready to provide. I know that I can always count on her to push me in the direction of my dreams.

9. She has the best laugh.

I could pick my mom's laugh out of a crowd of hundreds. Her ability to laugh at herself (and at her own cheesy jokes) are part of what makes her so amazing. But the sound of my mom's laugh has the capability to make anyone's day, including mine.

10. I never stop learning from her.

See points 1-9.


Mom, you are such an amazing woman, and there is simply no way that I could put it into words. So I'll simply say thank you. Thank you for all that you do for me, day-in and day out. Thank you for loving me, and showing me what it means to live like Jesus and everything else that you do. I hope that one day my daughter might love me as much as I love you.

Love,

Me

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Burton

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You Have To Give A Brick To Build Lasting Relationships

Vulnerability is the key to building lasting, impactful relationships.

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Guys build relationships through shoulder-to-shoulder interactions. These interactions include: playing sports together, watching sports together, or getting drinks at a bar together.

Girls are the opposite. Girls build relationships through face to face interactions and by being vulnerable with one another. Shared experiences and talking about things we have done and been through is what brings us closer together.

This process of being vulnerable and sharing stories about our experiences is what is referred to as "giving bricks."

During sorority recruitment work week, we had an amazing public speaker who came to talk to us about the relationship between sorority women and potential new members, and how to quickly and effectively build a good rapport.

Throughout her speech, so many new concepts and analogies unfolded before my eyes that ended up leaving a huge impact on me. Namely, her concept of "giving bricks." The topic of conversation began with how to break beneath the surface level with a person you have just met and dig deeper. During sorority recruitment, it is important to get to know who a girl is deep down, beyond what her major is and where she is from. Small talk is friendly, sure. However, small talk does not enable you to fully understand and capture who a person truly is.

Imagine a tall brick wall. Reach up as high as you can and pick off a brick from the very top. Now give it to someone you just met. Just like in Jenga, taking a block from the top essentially does nothing and will not cause your tower to come crashing to the floor. In relationship building, if you share a very small, surface level piece of information with somebody, it will not negatively affect your relationship with that person but it won't make it better either. Handing over a brick from the top of your wall is not the way to dig deep and find out who somebody is.

Now imagine yourself taking a brick from the center of your wall. It's a little tougher to access and takes some effort to remove it, but again, it will not send your wall toppling to the ground. Sharing something personal with another person will actually encourage them to do the same with you. If you give someone a brick from the middle, they likely will give you one from the middle of their wall too because you just opened up a conversation. You are inviting them to dive below the surface level and your vulnerability will give them the confidence to share something a little more personal with you. Not harmful, not too invasive, but just enough to catch a glimpse at their character and what they are interested in or what is important to them.

Finally, try taking a brick from the very base of your wall. It is taxing. It is hardest to access, and it made the rest of your structure shake and teeter a bit. Selecting a brick from the most important part of your wall is the hardest grab thus far. It literally is the foundation of the rest of your wall. You are the wall. Digging deep, getting vulnerable, and sharing personal information about what we value and fear most, trust and steer clear of most is what will build the most authentic, genuine relationship. It is the most vulnerable you can be with another person.

If you decide to give a brick from the bottom of your wall to another person, they will crouch down and pick up a brick straight from their foundation too and hand it straight over. Giving a brick from the base is equivalent to building a strong, lasting relationship with another person. It is something intimate and deep you get to experience together. Your closest friends are the people you share the most bricks with, and the people you call acquaintances only get the bricks from the tippy top.

Whether you chose to give a brick from the top, middle, or base to hand over to someone will determine how close you are willing to get to them. If your goal is to get to know them, you have to share something about yourself.

What is important to you? What motivates you in life? What are the things that make up YOUR foundation?

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