A Right Honorable Man
I find it just and necessary to bring to your attention the selfless works of an exceptional human being. There is a man among us in our community who serves his fellow men and women without seeking praise, glory, nor recognition. For the past three years it has been my sincere pleasure and honor to silently witness the kind and giving spirit of this gentle humanitarian. He has no indication that I’m writing this letter to you, for if he did, I’m certain he would ask that I not proceed.
For nearly 40 years, this man has worked tirelessly to become a consummate jewelry professional. GIA educated, he is truly a brilliant diamond shining brightly among the many other polished professionals within our industry. He requires that his entire staff be “diamond certified” through GIA’s diamond “Distance Education” courses in order to provide customers with the best possible service.
Insisting that every person who walks into his store receive a “WOW” experience, this man takes genuine customer care to its highest level. It’s not at all unusual for him to sit and listen to a longtime customer or a first-time visitor as they discuss the hurdles or obstacles they’re encountering in their personal lives. Most people would look for a reason to shorten this type of conversation during a busy day, not this man. Anyone who engages in a conversation with him is without fail the most important person in the room. I find it refreshing that he holds staff to the very same level of ethics that he holds himself.
Just 5 short months ago this jewelry business owner noticed, on one of our security cameras, a young man sitting outside the store on a bench, leaning over with his head in his hands. When he walked outside and approached the young man, he could see that he was upset. It turns out that this young man was a homeless US Army veteran and was struggling to find work. The young man “Michael” was eager and willing to work but, was not finding an opportunity or an open door so that he could prove his worth, even though he asked everyone he met if they were hiring. The store owner sat outside and talked with this veteran for nearly two hours.
At 73 years old, the jewelry store owner knows thousands of people such as customers, other business owners and professionals from all over the city and from nearly every industry. In only a few short hours, he had lined up three interviews for this military hero to attend. Late that evening, this humanitarian went to the store and purchased socks, underwear, shirts, pants and a new pair of shoes for Michael. Two days later, I was outside with the store owner when Michael literally came running up to us, held out his arms and hugged the 73 year old while breaking down in tears. Michael held on tight and would not let go as he cried and thanked the store owner for what he had done for him. As it turns out, Michael secured two jobs…one full-time job and one part-time job recommended by this “old man”. As I stood there watching and listening, I couldn’t help but to well up with tears myself. My supervisor had just served this military veteran who had already served us during his deployment. Several minutes later, Michael was once again moved to tears as he received the new clothes and shoes that were purchased especially for him. I heard Michael say, “I just can’t believe that an older white man like you would help a young black man like me. You are such a blessing. I had lost hope for the future.” I left them alone and went back inside the store.
This is just one of many acts of kindness that this man does for friends and strangers alike. As a Rotarian for more than 30 years, this jewelry business owner sees life a little differently than most. He not only requires a lot of his staff, he demands even more of himself.
The man I speak of is James K. Mills, better known to many as “Diamond Jim” of Pineforest Jewelry in Houston. At 60 years old, I have a lifetime of experience working with and for many business owners. Diamond Jim is truly and without exaggeration, one-in-a-million. The fact that he is one of the few survivors of pancreatic cancer and a near fatal car accident only serves to make his selfless acts more noteworthy.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. I know that Diamond Jim has helped many people who will never know who helped them or from where the assistance originated. It’s not in his character to seek praise for helping someone. In fact, I believe he might receive greater pleasure by remaining anonymous.
If your newspaper would be so kind as to share this letter with others, I would be very appreciative. I can think of no one more deserving of this acknowledgement than “Diamond Jim” Mills.
Thank you very much for reading this letter.