You may have read Rishi Batra’s (St. Mary’s) recent recap of the national round of the Representation in Mediation Competition a few weeks ago on this blog. As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story. . . .”
On the Thursday before the weekend of nationals, one of the ASU competitors for the national round fell ill and ended up in the emergency room. He was in no condition to travel the next day, much less compete, so we scrambled to get someone to take his place and travel to San Antonio. Once we identified the stand-in, the university’s travel bureaucracy would not allow the school to purchase an airline ticket for her on a school credit card, and would not guarantee that it would reimburse her for the expense. Why, you might ask. The answer – because she failed to make a timely request to travel. Yes, seriously.
Rishi and I talked about the situation, and we agreed to work on the situation on our respective ends. Shortly thereafter, Rishi’s St. Mary’s colleague A.J. Bellido de Luna – who was coordinating the national finals round – donated his frequent flier miles to our stand-in competitor to purchase her ticket to San Antonio. Talk about a selfless gesture !! Awe inspiring in my mind. Below is A.J.’s response to my gushing thank you.
Like you I have been doing this a long time and the opportunity for the students is far more important than a technical rule. Those miles cost me nothing and in return I gave good will. So your return is to bring a team that will compete well and that makes me happy.
My understanding is that he is going to be in Vegas for the ABA Conference. When you see him, please let him know how much our community appreciates having someone like him among us. As I write this, I am still amazed and further convinced that we should all strive to be more like A.J.