THANK YOU, San Antonio!
A week ago today I woke up like every morning at 5:30 am – I went to the gym and I started my Friday at an 8:30 am board meeting at the Witte Museum. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was happy it was the end of a long week.
Nothing would have prepared me for what happened next – I received a phone call on my way out of the meeting. “Magaly, the building is on FIRE!”. I couldn’t register the information – I kept on saying; “What do you mean?” I then asked if everyone was safe and told him I was on my way.
I never imagined that “the building is on fire” actually meant it was completely engulfed in flames and a totally devastating loss. I got there with difficulty, as all streets were closed, and there it was: my beautiful building, one that we had bought and remodeled with so much hard work, love and attention; my dream, my future was up in flames.
I had only heard myself wail once before, at the death of my friend Katie Pell, I guess in a way this was also a death. I couldn’t stop. And I kept on asking myself “What am I supposed to learn from this?”
I desperately went looking for my team. I found them. We hugged and cried – and then I took them out for a drink – yes, we went day drinking.
The fire totally destroyed the building and everything inside. We had to begin from nothing. What was my next step? I was lost and heartbroken but immediately I understood my job as a leader – under all circumstances, whatever I did at that moment was what would determine the fate of my business and my team.
This story really starts here – that was just for context. At 11:30 am I receive a text message from Randy Smith – he and his team offered us a place to call home and office out of for as long as we needed. He asked how many people we were and what floor would we prefer and that parking was on him! Wait?! What?! I couldn’t believe the generosity, the love, the understanding, that taking our new office space off the table, opened me up to figure out a million other things. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
And that was just the beginning – the hundreds of calls, texts, messages that day were unbelievable from dear friends to city officials, from restaurants to exercise studios. Everyone wanted to help!
“What am I supposed to learn?”Magaly Chocano, CEO of Sweb
And that is where it hit me – that original question of “What am I supposed to learn?” Here it is:
- There is nothing in this world that matters more than love and community.
- San Antonio, hands down, has the most loving community of all.
- Generosity comes in many different ways.
- Tragedy always comes with rebirth and new opportunities.
- Always give back, in whatever ways you can, it’s important.
- I am not alone. We are not alone.
This is just to say – I am overwhelmed with gratitude. You have taken me and my team in your arms and lifted us in this incredible moment of hardship.
Please know that your generosity is impacting not only my life personally but the lives of 16 other families.
The depth of your gifts and your love – the depth of your generosity is as deep as the depth of my gratitude. Sweb will rise stronger than ever. This is the story we must tell people that think San Antonio isn’t a place for them… where else would you get this much love?! Nowhere else!
Sweb was back to work at 8:30 am on Monday and never skipped a beat. Come visit us at our new home and let us know how we can be of service to you!
Magaly and the Sweb Team