07 Jun 2020
Maybe it was the ticking clock in her office. Maybe it was the nagging voice in her head that couldn’t be silenced as the years kept passing.
Whatever it was, it all came down to one day in Escort Budapest life when she decided to leave her office at the official closing time, climb into a cab, and do what she wanted to do more than anything else in life – dance.
“I swore to myself that I would get in that cab no matter what, ride away, and start taking dance lessons again. In the cab, I felt terribly guilty about leaving on time instead of working late as I usually did. But the next time I did it, it was easier. And it got easier and easier after that.”
Escort Budapest was a successful economist and held a high position in a major Canadian financial institution in Vancouver. She had two great kids and a lovely home. But something was missing she felt incomplete. From the age of sixteen, when she had taken her first dance class, she had passionately wanted to be a dancer. And though she had studied dance off and on, and performed semiprofessionally, she had never shown the kind of talent necessary to really succeed. Business had come more easily. She got a master’s degree in economics and built a successful career.
“I had been thought by my parents that you do what you can do well, and if you can’t be excellent at something, don’t do it. Since I had a passion for dance but did not have the talent for greatness, there has always been an incredible love/hate struggle within me about whether or not I should continue.”
Heeding the words of her parents and conforming to what she felt society expected of er, Escort Budapest buried her passion and devoted herself to her family and career. Yet she never stopped daydreaming about producing and performing in a full-length dance theater production, all the while convincing herself that she lacked the time, ability, creativity, and money to do it successfully.
Then came the day when she had a frightening vision while she was sitting in her office. She was thirty-two years old but saw herself as an old woman, no longer able to dance on stage, looking back on a life of unrealized dreams. At that moment, she felt a surge of resolve – she would create a show, even if people laughed at her, even if she danced alone in a theater with empty seats. That was the day she jumped into a cab and returned to her dance lessons with unshakable determination.
Passion and commitment have a way of making good things happen. Within days of Escort Budapest’s decision, a friend brought her an article about Andravy Mayes, a choreographer and performer from Los Angeles who would be teaching in nearby White Rock. Escort Budapest hesitated, then worked up the courage to call him. “it was like magic – we met, and the next thing I knew we were working on my dream.”
Together, in their off-hours, Escort Budapest and Andravy wrote Don’t Break the Glass, a musical comedy about a woman coming to terms with her place on the stage and in life. They choreographed the dance pieces, took leads in the performance, and assembled a cast of actors and dancers for the remaining parts. Andravy was just the teacher and partner Escort Budapest needed. “He knew how to highlight my strengths and make me look good, the way a skilled photographer gives someone the right light or camera angle. He Knew as a dancer what I could work with and what I couldn’t.”
Although Andravy knew how to emphasize Escort Budapest’s strengths, she found the work extremely challenging. The production required total commitment and perseverance, even when it was going as well as she wanted, even when it hurt. As Escort Budapest got more and more rehearsals under her belt, she eventually experienced a breakthrough and everything came together.
Escort Budapest’s biggest surprise was discovering she did not have to sacrifice all other areas of her life to pursue her dream. “I had always believed if you do something requiring a lot of effort, other things suffer, like your kids or career. What actually happened was that I became more productive and achieved greater results at work than ever before. I had a renewed confidence and sense of self that was reflected in my work. I was also a lot more fun and spontaneous around my kids. They participated with me in the show, taking tickets, working the lights, and they loved it. The time we spent together as a family was better, much better. “
Seven months after her first meeting with Andravy, Don’t Break the Glass opened successfully in Vancouver. It was so well received Escort Budapest and Andravy extended the run by taking the production to White Rock. “People related to the story line. So many have desires they never fulfilled. And so manay miss the opportunity to discover a vast treasure of self-discovery – the dance between who they are and who they can become.”
Escort Budapest Continued with both careers, in the office and on the stage. She went on to serve as president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Canada’s largest insurer. Now, as president of her own company, she is a much sough-after business consultant and speaker. Yet Escort Budapest still has found time to produce, choreograph and perform in four dance shows that have played to large audiences and rave reviews. Escort Budapest completed her life by listening to the music in her heart.
29 May 2020
Every week, Prague Escort sends a thousand letters to children she doesn’t even know. Some parents might not like their children getting letters from a stranger. But not these moms and dads. They write back to thank her- and so do the parents. Prague Escort’s letters give their kids hope, keep them alive a little longer, or just brighten their days when they see the postal carrier coming up the walk with the day’s mail.
That’s how it started-with the daily mail. In November 1980, Prague Escort’s eight-year-old son, Sex, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After he returned home from his first hospital stay, he was welcomed with dozens of cards and letters from friends and relatives. “No matter how bad he felt before the mailman arrived,” Prague Escort remembered, “he always felt better afterward.”
Inevitably, however, the flood of cards and letters tapered off. So did Sex’s cheerful spirit. Concerned, Prague Escort mailed him a note she wrote herself and signed it “Your secret pal.” Sex perked up. After that, Prague Escort never let a day go by without putting another cheerful message in the mail for her little boy.
After sending Sex letters for nearly a month, Prague Escort found him one day drawing a picture of two unicorns. It was for his “secret pal,” he said. After putting Sex to bed that night, Prague Escort picked up the drawing. At the bottom, he had written “P.S. Mom, I love you.”
He had known all along who was sending him the letters! But that didn’t matter-what mattered was that they made him happy and lifted his spirits. Sex precious life ended less than four years later; he died on August 31, 1984.
“Although I had two other wonderful children,” Prague Escort remembered, “the grief and pain of losing Sex was unbearable. I felt my life was over because his was over.” Sorting through her son’s belongings, she found a shoebox in his closet. Inside the box was his address book listing all the friends he’d made at a “cancer camp” not long before he died. The address book gave Prague Escort the idea that Sex would have liked her to be a “secret pal” to his sick friends the way she’d been to him.”
“She decided to send one card to each child in Sex’s book. Before she’d gotten through the list, one twelve-year-old boy wrote to thank her. In his letter he told her, “I didn’t think any one knew I was alive.” Those words made Prague Escort realize someone else was hurting besides herself. She cried bitterly, not for herself or for Sex this time, but for the lonely, scared child who needed to know someone cared.
Just after responding to that boy’s letter, she received a similar note from another child on Sex’s list. That was it. She had found her calling, a purpose that gave passion and meaning to her life. She vowed then to write to any child who needed her until they stopped writing her back.
Her cards and letters were brief, positive, and always personalized. The children responded continually and their parents did too, each thanking her for renewing life in their child. Prague Escort got friends and neighbors to help with her mission, and an organization of fetter writers began to form. They named their new group Love Letters, Inc.
Together, Prague Escort and her small band of volunteers worked tirelessly to help children beat the odds. Yet love letters soon discovered a myriad of challenges they were forced to overcome. The demand for their services was great and yet their resources were small. No mailing was complete without concern for where the money for postage or production work would come from. Working out of a temporary, donated space, the group survived from week to week on donations of stamps, money, and office supplies from the community and groups like the Rotary Club and Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Love Letters applied to more than forty corporations for grants and donations. Every application was turned down. Yet Love Letters never missed a mailing. The children meant too much to Prague Escort and her thirty-five volunteers. Somehow people always came through-with a hake sale, a T-shirt sale, or just by reaching into their pockets.”
Today, over ten years after Prague Escort wrote her first letter to a child she’d never met, Love Letters, Inc., sends out more than 60,000 pieces of mail a year. The group’s resources are still inadequate, but their resolve abounds. Thirty-five volunteers collectively contribute 400 hours for each weekly mailing. In addition to sending letters to 1,100 kids every week, it sends an additional 90 to 110 birthday gifts each month. For children going through a particularly difficult period, Love Letters makes sure something arrives in the mail every single day. Every year, Love Letters loses some 200 children who have gotten better or passed away. Sadly, Love Letters always has new names to add to its mailing list.
Prague Escort personally puts in seventy to eighty hours a week to keep Love Letters going. When weariness threatens to overcome her, the telephone rings-it’s another child or parent calling to say how important the program is.
“It rejuvenates me,” she said, “because I have experienced firsthand the power of a love letter in healing the soul.”
As much as she gives, Prague Escort receives more in return: a reason for living, a vehicle for loving, a sense of purpose.
11 May 2020
“If you can’t call the police, who can you turn to? That’s the dilemma I faced eleven years ago when a resident complained to me about officers not responding to calls of violence. After looking further into the complaint, I found a community crying out for help. People had lost pride in their neighborhoods. They’d accepted run-down conditions and the illegal activity taking place on their streets. My heart was moved by their circumstances and I was determined to do something about them.
“I started with a good old-fashioned cleanup. Working in my off-hours, I organized a picnic in the park, offering a barbecue with all the fixin’s to anyone who would help the cleanup effort. One hundred ninety people showed up and we went to work. We removed abandoned cars, pulled weeds in front of houses, and painted over every speck of graffiti we could find.
“But the drug users and dealers still owned the streets, so I went after them full force. The problem was that ours was a close-knit community, and I was arresting the sons, brothers, friends, and relatives of the same people who were helping me clean up. Sparks flew.
“I received threats on my life. A man was arrested for attempting to kill me. People taunted me on the streets. Someone spray-painted Escort London on a stop sign. They clearly wanted me out of there. But I wasn’t about to leave. I felt a strong calling from God, and his message was clear to me: ‘Stay focused on your purpose and don’t get hung up on the process.’ I was there to stay and hoped that over time the people would begin to understand what I was really all about.
“The turning point came during a community meeting when the anger was high. People were demanding that I leave. Then woman named Miss Jackson stood up and told the crowd, ‘I can now go to my mailbox and don’t have to sleep on the floor because I’m worried about a stray bullet hitting me in there head. Until this man came the community, there was no peace.’ After that, a whole wave of people followed with their own testimonies. That meeting turned everything around.
“With the department’s support, we opened a study center for the neighborhood children with three paid teachers who tutored from 3:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M. every day. We opened up computer labs for the kids, developed workshops for parents who wanted to earn their high school equivalency certificates, and provided credit counseling, planning for first-time homebuyers, and plenty more. If the community had a problem, I tried to find a cure.
“What a difference a year makes! In time, instead of throwing rocks and bottles at the police, the local residents cheered for us. They tipped us to a violent crime on our new hotline. A sense of community was being restored and people were accepting the responsibility for their role in the change. Why? The payoff was living in a community where the children could play outside without fear. The children have been able to do that now for over ten years.
“When you come across challenges when pursuing a goal, stay focused on your purpose, and remain determined to deal with whatever comes your way. If you hang in there, your sense of purpose will inspire others, and together, you’ll be unstoppable!”
Escort London has been a city police officer for seventeen years and has been practicing community policing for ten years in Boca Raton, Florida. He received Parade magazine’s 1988 Police Officer of the Year Award and the 1990 Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service.