fran_mikeWhen I got asked to speak at District 84’s Toastmasters event in Orlando, I was very happy. A wonderful woman by the name of Pim Love had heard me speak prior and requested the club bring me there. (And yes of course I think she’s wonderful…she got me the gig!)

This was my third keynote for Toastmasters and I knew they were a great group to speak to. What I didn’t expect however was the added two adventures that would come out of it.

One of my main philosophies in life is that when a door opens walk through it, even if you have to do a little pushing yourself to get that door fully opened.  I also believe that if you keep your mind as flexible yet professional in life as possible…really cool things spring up to enter.

As the travel arrangements were being made for my trip to Florida, I was contacted by a voice from the past, my cousin, Michael Vasquez, who is now a reporter for the Miami Herald. He found my website through Google and called out of the blue to reconnect. We had lost touch shortly after he was 16 when his mom died and he went to live with his dad in Florida. We tried to stay in touch but somehow the lines of communication got cut off. The last contact I had with him was when I sent him a copy of the Writers Market because he said he had an interest in becoming a journalist. Now at 32 he had fulfilled his dream and I was thrilled we were able to talk again and to boot we had a career we both loved in common. 

I told him I was coming to Florida and we set the plans in motion for me to fly down a day early so we could meet and quickly catch up on the 18 years that were lost.

I was scheduled to do two talks for Toastmasters. My “Dare to do it” keynote Friday night at 6 p.m., and a one-hour “Creativity in Marketing” keynote from 9-10 a.m. Saturday morning.  Then, in a typical Capo fashion, I was scheduled to fly out by noon to Norman, Oklahoma to do two weeks of Tornado chasing, (yes Tornado chasing like in the Wizard of Oz). So needless to say, my schedule was really tight. But as the saying goes if you want to do something you find a way, if you don’t you find an excuse. 

As the plane touched down in Orlando on that Thursday afternoon, the woman that was sitting next to me on the plane, who hadn’t spoken to me the entire ride, smiled and said, “I’m so excited, I’m here on vacation and my husband and I are going to see the shuttle launch.”

Instantly I perked up. “Really? That’s great. When is that happening?”

“Tomorrow, Friday, May 14th at 3:45 in Cape Canaveral, we’ve had tickets for over a year. It’s the last flight ever of the Atlantis shuttle into space.  It will be an historic event.”

The Capo click factor set in. At that moment I knew I’d have to find a way to get to that shuttle, see it launch and still make it back on time to do my talk without worrying the people that hired me.”