I've never been in a Gallery Furniture store but the Westbury Christian family is indebted to Jim McIngvale, aka Mattress Mac. This story, from May 23, 2009, tells why.
It was the big story in Houston Thursday and Friday. A huge, late night fire gutted the warehouse of Gallery Furniture, perhaps Houston's best known business. The founder and owner of Gallery Furniture, Jim McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mac, is probably Houston's most famous and outspoken entrepreneur. I tell my classes each year that the two greatest philanthropists in Houston are former boxer George Foreman (think grills) and Mattress Mac. McIngvale has given untold millions to charity as well as being a tremendous supporter of everything Houston. The fire was devastating and the non-stop topic of conversation in the largest city in Texas. But that alone is not my thread tonight. You see, Mattress Mac agreed months ago to be our WCS commencement speaker and graduation was last night, less than twenty-four hours after the inferno that wiped out almost thirty years of wealth and labor. He was there. Not only was he there, he was there in brilliant form. Some of us were a little star struck when we shook his hand as the faculty waited to march in. (Ben Johnson and I said we would never wash our right hands again.) Greeted by a standing ovation, Mac was realistic, somber, hilarious, self-deprecating, thought provoking, and inspiring as he lauded Christian education, the value of work, and the ability to rebound from setbacks, sometimes very public in nature. I have heard my share of commencement addresses, and delivered two myself, but the one I listened to last night is without peer. Earlier in the day, Mac was asked by a friend why he did not cancel the engagement, knowing how everyone would certainly understand...which we would have. Mac's simple answer was that the kids would be disappointed. Believe me, nobody left disappointed. Fifty one seniors, their relatives and friends, and our Westbury Christian family left with the living example that we can get up after being knocked down, that goodness and perseverance are rewarded, and that the Lord is good. It wasn't a sermon but I can give a one word conclusion to Mac's oration: AMEN.
Applicable quote of the day:
"That's life, that's what all the people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune,
When I'm back on top, back on top in June."
From That's Life by Frank Sinatra
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