Vitas Gerulaitus, A True Gentleman
Well, I have no idea when this article was written but I hope it reaches you anyway. I would like to share with you a brief encounter I had with Vitas Gerulaitis in Dallas, Tx in the Fall of 1986. In fact, I happened upon this article as a result of recalling that brief episode just this morning, which is what prompted me to google Mr. Gerulaitus.
I had been suffering (at the time still undiagnosed) from an underactive thyroid for several months. I looked and felt weak and ill. My best friend had persuaded me to go out with him and his girlfriend to the opening of a new, fashionable club called Pasha, which was co-owned by Mr. Gerulaitus. I had also been suffering from a head cold and the weather that evening was damp and very windy. By the time we entered the club it was already packed to the gills, as the saying goes, and my rose was running something terrible. No exaggeration, my face was full of snot. There was a line outside the bathroom door and I couldn't get to the bar for some napkins. I eventually wound up walking into the kitchen, desperate for something to wipe my nose. I'm sure I looked like some coked-out idiot 24 yr-old. Anyway, just inside the kitchen door was Vitas, Janet Jones and couple of investors (one of whom I had been acqainted with through my best friend). I was so embarrassed and humiliated to begin with, but then to walk into this brightly lit kitchen and interrupt these richly and immaculately dressed, worldly-looking miilionaires, along with the stunning Janet Jones, made the humiliation even worse. Mr. Gerlulaitis was so genuinely gracious, kind and caring. The others seemed awkward and put-off by my ugly presence, but Mr. Gerulaitis responded immediately with genuine concern for my well-being. He immediately got me a dinner napkin and inquired several times, with genuine care for my well-being, if I was all right and if I was in need of any other assistance.
Pardon my redundancy with the word genuine but that's just what he was, genuine. He truly cared about a stranger in-need walking into his kitchen. He was a true Good Samaritan. The action itself wasn't all that heroic, but the genuine goodwill of his heart is still remembered with love and gratitude 26 years later. Peace be with you Vitas. And thank you for your selfless kindness and compassion.