In Raleigh, North Carolina, there is a Leasing Consultant named Amber Cleveland. She joined Camden as a temp in August of 2014. Shortly after that she became a full-time employee. Amber sets a stellar example of Camden Excellence. Amber leaves a lasting impression. She’s a hugger. Every time she hands over the keys to a new resident, she stands up, stretches her arms out, wraps her arms around our new neighbor and belts out in song: “Welcome HOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!”. (PS: She also happens to have been a Hollywood finalist on Season 2 of American Idol so she actually sounds amazing.) Not everyone can pull that off. In fact, no one else in our office can do that. With Amber, I can’t imagine her NOT doing that. And she doesn’t stop that connection after they move in. But that’s a different story for a different day.
Today I had the occasion of going to lunch with her at the mall. As we parked and walked into the mall, we were engrossed in conversation. Walking toward the entrance and out of the corner of my eye I briefly noticed an elderly woman taking painfully slow and careful steps. I wasn’t overly concerned because I was totally immersed in conversation. Until I realized Amber was no longer with me. She had stopped and was asking this woman if she needed help. I could now see that the woman was in desperate need of a hand or even a hand rail. Amber offered her arm, asked her where she needed to go and who was coming to get her. As you can imagine, it took quite some time to get her inside. Amber found a place for her to sit while she waited, got her some water and told her we would be back to check on her in a short time.
As I’m writing this, I can’t begin to explain what it felt like to be one of the many people that had no intention of stepping out of their world to take on the care and responsibility of someone in need. How many times have I encountered someone in need and thought that surely someone else was on their way to help them? The best I could do in the moment is what anyone would do…pull out their phone and snap a photo.
As we walked away, I turned to Amber and thanked her for being such a kind human being. She said, “I would hope someone would do the same thing for my parents, wouldn’t you?”
Amber returned shortly to find her new friend sitting with her husband. She introduced herself and made sure they were ok. We then proceeded to have lunch a couple of tables away.
As Amber’s supervisor, I am moved that Amber “Lead by Example”. She is exactly the kind of person that lives by Camden’s values without effort. Each year, Camden employees select their peers to be honored for Achieving Camden Excellence. Amber shows every sign of being a future A. C. E. Award Winner. Although she hasn’t been honored with the prestigious award yet, I can’t imagine it will be long.
Camden’s’ values represent guideposts that would benefit anyone wanting to be a better person. As a manager with Camden, I have always kept this list close and have often made decisions in difficult situations by simply referring to “Always do the right thing”. Camden’s values are the heart of my loyalty to this organization. I’m grateful that today I witnessed Camden’s Values in action. If we all helped someone in need, would anyone be in need?