The other day the Washington Post had a wonderful profile of a wonderful guy: our own Byron Pitts.
In the piece, Byron talked about his own upbringing, including the surprising news that when he was 12 years old, he was illiterate. Incredibly, he could barely read. "It was humiliating. It was awful," Byron told Howard Kurtz. "You sort of live your life in disguise. . . . When you live in the 'hood, you have to wear a mask."
Those who work with Byron know he is one of the most artful and eloquent writers in the newsroom – as well as a genuinely good and giving man. That's no surprise. But most of us had no idea of the struggles he had to face. To realize what he overcame, and how much pain and embarrassment he had to contend with, is heartbreaking -- and inspiring.
It's amazing the things you learn about people, even people you see and work with every day. Stories like this -- and, believe or not, eulogies at funerals –- always make me regret not really talking and learning about who someone is, and where they came from.
You might be surprised at the stories the guy sitting right next to you might have.
Meanwhile, I'm glad I've learned this about Byron. I can't wait to talk with him about it. But for now I'm just so proud to know him and have him as a friend and colleague.