NASA still hasn’t given me a call, but when I joined the GameStop team two years ago, I had no idea I was about to take the ride of my life. Prior to joining GameStop, I had heard about Make-A-Wish but I hadn’t had the chance to work with them directly. I quickly came to realize just how wonderful an organization Make-A-Wish truly is. Since GameStop is a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish, I’ve become very familiar with their mission, so much so that soon after I started working with them, I became a wish granter.
Over the past two years we’ve had over a jillion wishes granted at our stores. This is almost a wish per day, and we don’t tell the kids what to wish for: They ask to go to GameStop! Each day I get the opportunity to see how passionate our store associates are about Make-A-Wish. They go above and beyond to make sure that every wish kid who visits our store has the ultimate VIP treatment. We’ve had associates roll out the red carpet, bake game-themed cupcakes and do tons of other amazing wish enhancements for wish kids.
There are so many incredible stories, and I chose the following two to share with you today.
I’ll start with this one from 2014 – Every year, we bring our associates together for an annual Store Manager’s Conference. This is when we get the chance to highlight what we’ve done since the last meeting and look ahead at the upcoming year. For this meeting we brought a wish kid, Matthew, and his family out to Anaheim, Calif. Matthew’s mom talked to our associates about Make-A-Wish and the impact it had on all of their lives. As Matthew was coming up onto the stage, all 5,000 attendees got out of their seats and began chanting – Ma-thew! Ma-thew! It was electric. I’m talking total #WishChills. Matthew’s face immediately lit up and his excitement was so contagious. I know that Matthew had a great day, but the impact that he had on me and our GameStop family will last forever. People around the office still talk about last year when Ma-thew! came to conference.
So, fast forward to 2015. I got a call from my dear friend Keri at Make-A-Wish. I could tell she had exciting news and she proceeded to tell me about a kid whose one wish was to be in a video game company’s commercial. Without hesitation I told her, “We’re in!” Over the next couple of months, we made plans to bring Jahred and his family from Phoenix to Grapevine, Texas, so he could star in his very own commercial. From start to finish, the day was a complete whirlwind. Upon Jahred’s grand arrival, like any celebrity, he had paparazzi and screaming fans lined up to greet him with posters and cheers. He was then led into his autograph signing chambers where he had a line out the door of awaiting fans. He followed that with a tour of the GameStop headquarters, and then it was off to the studios for his shoot. Jahred was such a natural and very comfortable on camera. But what really struck me was his joy and passion for life. At one point I was reminded that Jahred is facing a terrible disease, but not once during the day did he ever complain. In fact, after spending any amount of time with Jahred, you will be taken by his ear-to-ear grin.
All of these special moments are reminders of why I do what I do every day. I have the opportunity to be a game changer in these kid’s lives and I’m so honored to have been able to be a part of the many GameStop wishes over the past couple of years. I may not get to go to space, but working with Make-A-Wish is outta this world!