Monday, January 13, 2014

Remembering a Great Man

Me, LC, Mike, JG & KT back in the summer of 2008
This past Tuesday, January 7, 2014 marked the three year anniversary of the death of a truly remarkable man... Mr. Michael Wunner.  Mike was my General Manager at T.G.I. Friday's from basically when I started in October of 2007 until he died in 2011.  And he was more than just our GM... he was like a father figure to us all.

Mike tragically passed away on January 7, 2011 while pulling into his parking space at work.  He supposedly had a heart attack which caused him to flip his car and die.

I still remember getting the phone call that he had passed away and thinking that it was a cruel joke.  But when the text messages started pouring in from co-workers I knew that it wasn't a cruel joke and that the world had lost a wonderful man.

I remember calling my parents to tell them what happened but being unable to get any words out.  I remember my dad answered the phone and in between sobs he said "Hold on... I'll go get your mother."  (Dad can't handle it when I am upset, let alone when I am sobbing hysterically into the phone and can't get any words out).  

I remember not knowing what to do because I truly loved this man like a father.

I remember the last conversation I had with Mike being about how he hoped that MD would propose to me some day because I was a remarkable woman and that he hoped his sons could find someone like me one day.

I remember how he always used to walk around Friday's on his toes with a cup of coffee in his hands.

I remember how he was ALWAYS willing to give someone a 2nd chance... and a 3rd... and a 4th... and a 5th... and a 6th....

Mike had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever known and was always there for his employees.  He made us feel like a family.  He was always there to give us advice, to lend a hand, to just listen if that was what we needed.

He is a man who will never be forgotten and who I still miss at work all the time.  Things will never be the same without him around.

On Tuesday I went out with some of my co-workers... past and present... to celebrate his life.  We had so much fun reminiscing about the good old days with Mike.  Mike is a man that none of us will ever forget and I am so glad that he was able to be a part of my life.

As always... today I am thankful for the fact that I was lucky enough to be able to know Mike Wunner.  Through Mike's guidance and leadership at Friday's I have become the woman that I am today.  I was blessed to have known him and without him law school would have been a lot harder.  I am so lucky to have been able to solicit his advice, to talk to him about life, and to have him there as I was trying to figure out who I was.  Mike is a man who will never be forgotten because all who knew him loved him.  R.I.P. Michael Wunner... hope you are living it up, up there in heaven and that you are looking down on all of us and are proud of the people we have become.  We love and miss you!

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