My speech, a modern-day parable called The China Shop in the Bull, delivered explosive energy. Ron stood at the podium and with grace and gentleness and described family events when he was on vacation. My story had humor, tears, and a bit of drama. Ron’s speech had bed bugs, hole-in-the-wall hotels, and 19-inch TVs. Mine was non-stop. Ron paused a bit and took a while to collect his thoughts for the second half of his story.
Ron, who’s been a member of Toastmasters for twelve years, has cerebral palsy. His gait is uneven and his speech falters now and then.
The club voted my speech number one. Applause. Grins. Pats on the back.
After the meeting, I looked over at quiet, noble Ron, and swallowed the lump in my throat as I considered his courage and quiet strength.
I knew what I needed to do. I gave Ron a hug and handed him the blue ribbon.
“Ron, you deserve this ribbon. That was the best ice-breaker speech I’ve heard!”
He grinned. “Thank you.”
“Can I have my picture taken with you?”
“Yes,” he said.
My friend Marc (pictured on the left) said, “That’s one of the first ribbons Ron’s gotten.”
That night, I posted our photo on Facebook and said, “My friend Ron Bell took home the first place ribbon at Toastmasters tonight. Here I am with the winner…I’m crazy-excited to get my picture taken with him!”
Who can you give a “blue ribbon” to today?