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A Love Letter to Indianapolis

A recent sunny day less than two weeks ago saw me tired but happy and home from a part-time job at the Indianapolis International Airport. This job is based upon being available on an irregular schedule – a call comes in for a gig and I get to say yes or no. This job had a mandatory component, however, called “Super Bowl Duty.”
Working with a group of professional people in short bursts of highly coordinated activity is a rare and powerful experience. It’s been my pleasure for the past six months to be able to have these experiences, with one particular one topping the list. Helping Super Bowl visitors get back to their homes.
They were our guests from all over the world, come to witness a world championship game and a world-class city. They witnessed a city transformed and enhanced by more events than you could reasonably name here. They received TLC from a well-coordinated volunteer cadre of over 6,000 Hoosiers in and around the Super Bowl Village. They witnessed everything from the ribbon cutting at the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center to the art experience at TURF/IDADA Art Pavilion in the Old City Hall. Locals saw our own big-city sparkle during the opening montage of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I personally made visits to the Super Bowl Village, the zipline, and had my own encounters with my cheerful blue-and-white stripe scarf-clad smile-bearing neighbors. All of these things made me proud of my city.
But it took several hundred random encounters with complete strangers over sixteen hours to nail a lesson home, over and over, on these terms: It’s the people who make Indianapolis what it is. We really ARE friendly, and that quality is highly valued, appreciated, and sought-after. We know how to put on a party, to thoughtfully and intelligently entertain people in meaningful ways, create rich experiences, making people feel cared for, feel like they want to come back again. They LIKE us, they really LIKE us! Channeling that long-ago academy-award acceptance speech by Sally Field, our lacy slip of self-deprecation caused us to collectively put it all out there. The reward? Indianapolis is a world-class city of people who care. And that matters just as much as a beautiful coastline, tropical temperatures, or purple mountain majesties.
Thanks, Indianapolis, for being my home.

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