Several years ago I was privileged to find a beautiful home for a person who was close to Oprah Winfrey.
It was a happy moment for my client, and the home was truly exquisite. She had told Oprah about her new home and the time came when Oprah wanted to go through the home and see it. It would be a small celebration of sorts, with me and another broker coming along to share in the event.
It was one of the early years of American Idol, with the exciting matchup between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, and a large TV in the new home was tuned in to the show as we toured the rooms along with Oprah and my client. It was the next-to-final night on the show, and America had one last night to listen to the two finalists and take one side or the other.
We gathered back in the library and watched as that next to the last episode came to a close. We were all talking about the show, and Oprah was excited and making it pretty clear as to who she was rooting for. She was clearly a fan of the show like the rest of us, which was refreshing to see, and was well informed about how the show had been going that year.
Then, at the end, they posted the numbers for people to call in one last time, and cast their vote. “The Phone Lines Were Open” as they say!
Oprah wasn’t carrying a cell phone that night, but she was clearly eager to make her choice. In keeping with her principles, namely not being addicted to her cell phone like so many of us, she did not have a phone with her at the time.
So, she turned to me and asked me if she could use my cell phone, and right then and there she took my phone and called in and made her pick. Then, just like so many of us did – after all there were no restrictions or rules – she called in a second time and picked again!
I know who she chose, but I’m not tellin’! Believe it or not, high end realtors don’t ‘kiss and tell’ or in this case, ‘phone and tell’, especially when it comes to our clients’ secrets.
Of course, just like you who are reading this, it did strike me that some magazine or some celebrity gossip host would have paid a bundle to hear the whole story, but I didn’t even question it for a second. My success and integrity depend on being discreet and creating a safe and trusting place for my clients, similar to what many seasoned and reputable real estate agents provide for their clients as well.
One lesson from this story is that your vote truly makes a difference, even Oprah was eager to chime in. And, she probably could have called a senior executive to make her choice known, but instead she played by the rules like millions of Americans did that same night.
My final lesson from this whole experience was to see that Oprah truly ‘walks the walk and talks the talk’ when it comes to not allowing herself to be dominated by her phone. It led me to make a strong commitment not to talk or text while driving, and I hope this story resonates with you who are reading it as well.