The magic of Mandino was his compassionate understanding for what truly makes us human. It doesn't matter if you're a rock star or a street sweeper. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. Each of us makes life-and-death choices every second of our day. Each of us has the power to celebrate or desecrate who we are.
Mandino was a master storyteller because he lived his own stories. He made early choices that temporarily destroyed his life. Like the characters in his books, he knew about death and resurrection options firsthand.
Mandino's longtime friend and agent Cheryl Miller of Speakers International, a speakers' bureau in Long Grove, Illinois, often traveled with him on the lecture circuit. Miller said it didn't matter who the audience was--Mandino always connected. He would tell the story of that dark day in Cleveland when he went to buy the gun to kill himself.
"And then," Miller says, "he would look out at that group lovingly and say he knew that somewhere in that audience was a Mr. or Mrs. X who was feeling the same way he did on that fateful day. And it was for them that he was there to say `Don't buy that gun. There is a better way.' "
Miller remembers one time in Chicago when a very well-dressed gentleman came up to her after Mandino's speech, holding an envelope for her to give to him. "Later Og opened it and passed it over for me to glance at," Miller recalls. "It read: `I am your Mr. X. And just for today, I won't buy that gun. Thank you.' " Then he reminded me that outward appearances meant nothing. We never know how much someone may be hurting.