The sign on the door read "CLOSED DUE TO GAS LEAK." On this typically busy evening, the crowd stampeding into the Henrietta, NY Steakhouse quickly came did a quick 180º and squealed out of the parking lot leaving perfect grill marks on the hot asphalt.
Perhaps it was a suburban legend, but some young soul, tortured under the tutelage of 22-year-old manager/prodigy Kevin Lash, was looking for a night off. Neither my fellow RIT student, Steve BonDurant were responsible, or at least I don't think so. I know that I was most likely not involved. Hmm.
The question still lingers these 30 years later.
Steve still lives in the Rochester NY area and runs a marketing communications firm known as Icon Branding & Design, Inc. I admit that when I noticed that his company name contained the word "Branding," I couldn't help but think that he had perhaps left the world of creative thought and entered the world of cattle ranching. Steve, after all, had reached the apex of non-managerial Ponderosa employment as head steak cooker (while I remained a "potato boy" concentrating on baked and fries).
We had often discussed an experience-driven beef restaurant where customers would experience the whole nine yards from cow selection, to butchery, to cooking and finally consumption. Perhaps Steve had followed this dream and was personally branding his acquired steers. I paused and wondered.
Steve and I have landed in marketing communications businesses that are very much the same, and as CEOs of mega-corporations, we have divided the western hemisphere into separate sales regions with Icon Branding controlling upstate New York, Mid-Atlantic states, Eastern Canada, and the Midwest. Seldom do we cross paths but when we do–yikes!
Anyway, by now you have either dozed off or moved on to YouTube.
Over last weekend, a small cardboard envelope arrived with one of Steve's newest and incredibly cool promotions. In addition to a friendly personal note, I received a Moleskine notebook with the title, "Small Book of BIG IDEAS."
At first, I thought that Steve was passing along his BIG IDEAS, but disappointingly, I discovered that the analog recording device provided gridded real estate for mental snippets that occasionally bubbled to the surface from my random synapses firings.
On the other hand, I was pleased to see that the booklet did not include any of Steve's hair brained schemes such as a "Hunt Your Favorite Cow Bistro."
It is always great to hear from old friends. From Steve's note, he now has a grown son in Boston. Perhaps on his next visit, we can meet, plan and cause hilarity to ensue!