From the Beekman Boys‘ Facebook timeline.
We want to share a very important story today.
Three years ago, we were at the Santa Monica Public Library, signing copies of our new cookbook. After everyone else had gone through the line, a woman who had been waiting patiently in the front row stood up slowly, and carefully made her way to us. We saw that she was struggling with an oxygen tank, so we went over to her instead. She’d waited till last because she knew she would move slowly and didn’t want to hold up the rest of the people who had come to see us.
“My name is Sandy, and I just love your show,” she said. “My neighbor comes over to my house every Thursday night, and we watch it together. We just love you, and the animals and Farmer John.”
We thanked her. We pictured two lovely women having tea or cocktails, and watching our show together.
“And my neighbor is the head of Reality Television at CBS,” she added.
“Well,” Brent said, laughing: “Why aren’t we on The Amazing Race, then?” We’d applied to the show several times in the past. It was one of our favorites. But knowing that they get tens of thousands of applicants each year, we were never surprised not to hear back from anyone. In fact, we really didn’t even believe that this sweet, frail woman spent every Thursday night watching our show with one of the most powerful television executives in Hollywood. We supposed that maybe she wasn’t totally clear on what her neighbor did for a living. Maybe she worked at CBS in some capacity. But certainly this woman’s neighbor wasn’t an SVP of programming.
“I’m going to tell her to find your application,” the woman replied. Then, perhaps sensing our dubiousness, added: “I am.”
We didn’t think any more of it, until three days later, back at the farm, when the phone rang and the voice on the other end said “I’m with the casting agency for The Amazing Race, and we heard you want to try out. Why don’t you come out to LA and audition?”
We did. And we got on the show. And we won. Barely. It was the most challenging thing we’d ever done in our lives, and it showed. No one involved in that season – the producers, the network executives, the viewers – no one thought that we would win. But we ran the race with the same three rules we live by: 1. Work hard. 2. Never quit. 3. Help your neighbor.
A year after we won, we were back in LA for another book signing. Also back in the front row was Sandy. She looked a little healthier, but was still having difficulty getting around. We introduced her to the audience as the woman who’d changed our lives forever. When it came time to sign her book, we thanked her profusely again.
“We never ever ever thought we would win,” we said.
“I never ever ever thought you wouldn’t,” she replied.
It’s rare that any of us can point to one person in our lives – someone we hardly knew, in fact – and say that they had one of the most measurable, positive impacts on our destiny of anyone. Sandy made a literal million dollar difference in our life. A relative stranger. Someone who simply liked us, our goats, and our farm from afar. That prize money allowed us to pay off our mortgage, move from the city, and spend all of our time building Beekman 1802 together. Every penny of that prize has gone back into our business. We could not have continued farming and building Beekman 1802 without the godsend she initiated.
Sandy reminds us of why we believe in the power of being neighborly. Sandy had reached out to her neighbor – the CBS executive – at a time of great grief in her neighbor’s life. Together, these neighbors watched a show about a silly farm in Sharon Springs, to help distract from her grief and loss. And because of that, those silly farmers got a chance to run a race. And now we’re able to work as hard as possible to help our own neighbors – artisans, craftspeople & fellow farmers who are all a part of Beekman 1802.
And now it’s our turn to feel grief.
Sandy died this past week.
It was a long final mile for Sandy, but she died peacefully. We’re very grateful for that.
We say this a lot, but we really do think of everyone who believes in Beekman as our neighbor, and Sandy’s story proves why. It is, quite literally, your neighbor who connects you to the rest of the world. Maybe that’s why neighbors are at the center of the Golden Rule.
Through us, Sandy was your neighbor too. We’d like to share this post with Sandy’s family to show how big an impact she made. So, please use the comment section below to tag one of your neighbors – near or far – thanking them for something they’ve done in your life. Let’s see if we can connect neighbors all around the globe.
And, thank you, Sandy. Thank you a million + infinity.