Last October, “06880” published the uplifting story of Brian Hershey. The Staples junior won an international contest sponsored by Polar Bears International, aimed at educating teenagers about climate change.
After writing an essay and undergoing interviews, Brian traveled to the Arctic Circle. He and 17 other bright, committed students from around the globe met with scientists, studied polar bears, and tried to figure out how to stop our planet from falling apart.
Brian returned to Westport excited and inspired to do what he can to help change the world.
The post drew 98 comments. This being “06880,” not all were positive. Several readers hammered Brian for — among other things — his love of travel, and his belief that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between manmade gases and global warming.
A reader who nicknamed himself “Jeffxs” was particularly vocal. He said that Brian was “pitching his ideas,” and — as an aside — decried the Board of Education’s elimination of science courses in favor of “mural painting.”
Brian responded to his critics with grace and poise. He countered their blasts with reasoned arguments, facts, logic — and far more restraint than adults 2 and 3 times his age showed.
So it was with particular joy that I read an email the other day from Brian. He wrote:
When that blog post was published on Facebook, a friend of my family’s from when we used to live in Hong Kong read it. He is an executive at a PR firm based in East Asia whose specialty is “crisis management.”
Apparently he liked what he saw! He sent me a friendly email saying he saw a great PR agent in me, and that he liked the way I “managed the crisis.” He ended his email with, “I’d love to have you as an intern! Your choice of Hong Kong, Syndney, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore,or Kuala Lumpur!”
When I read this I was shaking in my seat at the idea of being able to go back to that part of the world. I have been dying to go back to Asia ever since I lived in Tokyo this past summer as an exchange student. I couldn’t believe the offer was real.
It was confirmed today. For the month of July I will live in an apartment in Hong Kong, and work as an intern for this guy at his office.
It’s the experience of a lifetime! And none of it would have been possible without your blog post, and Jeffsx and others’ criticisms! That’s fate!
Actually, it’s a great credit to Brian, and his maturity and wisdom.
As for Jeffxs: Please send me your address (email or snail). I’ll pass it along to Brian.
I’m sure he’d like to thank you himself, just as soon as he gets settled in Hong Kong.