Today's Flashback Friday comes directly from our new CEO, John Lauck. John joined the CMN Hospitals family in January of this year, but had his first interaction with our organization many years ago. We asked him to "flash back" and share this memory with all of you.
The Lauck Family Waits to Go On Stage During the National Telethon
My first experience with CMN Hospitals began in 1990 when Pizza Hut became a Corporate Sponsor. I can't remember the specifics of the promotion, but I do recall that we had a four-week in-store promotion that raised a modest amount of funds.
I had the privilege that year of presenting the check on the national Telethon, which was then held live from Disneyland. Not one to pass up an opportunity to mix business with family vacation, my wife Alison and our four sons accompanied me to make the check presentation. We had a delightful day as guests of Disneyland and - with the exception of a fussy 5-month-old - we endured the long lines and ate lots of junk food.
As the time approached for our fifteen-seconds-of-fame slot on the Telethon, we changed from vacation clothes to our Sunday best. My two oldest sons, Ryan and Alan (then 9 and 6 years old), would accompany me as I made the check presentation to Merlin Olsen. We had alerted our family, friends and all of my work associates of our brief moment of national notoriety. I was excited and proud of the opportunity to show off my well behaved sons and corporate philanthropy.
Finally, the moment arrived. As we waited for our cue to walk across the stage and present an oversized cardboard check to Merlin, Alan (who was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder) jumped the gun and ran across the stage. To my horror, he began jumping up and down, yelling and wrestling with the electrical cords that had been carefully taped to the stage floor. Merlin did his best to bring my sugar-amped 6-year-old under control. I drug Ryan in one hand, monster cardboard check in the other quickly across the stage to subdue Alan.
It was a fiasco and all I can remember from that point was that it took an eternity before we were all off the stage and safe from the scrutiny of national humiliation and scorn. I was sure my reputation, career and autograph opportunity with Merlin Olsen and Marie Osmond were now ruined. The rest of our day at Disneyland was a dark cloud. I threatened to ground Alan for the rest of his life.
Before we left the park to head for our hotel, I stopped by the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals courtesy suite to apologize. Embarrassed and angry, I pleaded with a staffer to extend my apologies to everyone, when he told me that during our section of Telethon, the studio had lost transmitting power and our little performance never made it on the air. Relief!
Alan is now 27, the center of attention and still hyper. I recently reminded him of our Disneyland Telethon disaster. He laughed and said, "See Dad, I told you that you got the CMN Hospitals job because of me!"