Ep. 006: Kwame Anderson, Breakthru Beverage Group

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Kwame Anderson:
Mike hey, sir. I don't know what's going on. I know what your reason for being at period for whatever it is, I'm down. I'd love to talk about it. And then you don't know me. You don't care about me. Why do you care? Nothing. Sir, I don't have to know you to care about you.

I am not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr Lebowski, I'm the dude.

Yeah, I tell you what. You can take a good look at a picture is asked by sticking your head up there. But wouldn't you rather take his word for it?

Film and eat all the frickin chips. Kip.

Naploen. Don't be jealous that I've been shown online with games all day.

We have a pawn in the back, a pool and a pot of good. You.

Welcome to the iSellBeer podcast with Tracy Neal, a production for sales reps and distributors who are driving around all day selling beer and the official home of the iSellBeer Beer Nation Facebook group. And now your host. The 1989 winner of the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Race in Hangtown, California, Tracy Neal.

Tracy Neal:
All right. We're here with Kwami Anderson from Breakthru Beverage, Minnesota. Kwame, how are you doing today?

Kwame Anderson:
I'm great. And you?

Tracy Neal:
Excellent. Very good. Thank you for joining me today. I'm I'm I'm really excited to talk to you today and of course, have you on the podcast. We met each other down in San Diego in September. And yes, I was actually. And I met your girlfriend as well. And I was actually quite impressed that you guys you know, I stopped you in the lobby to introduce myself. And you took the time to not only say hi and shake my hand, but talk to me for a little while. And I said, hey, I'd really like to have you on the podcast. And you were you were more than willing. So thank you so much.

Kwame Anderson:
I love the opportunity and I appreciate you even extending it. Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
Absolutely. And you've got to you've got a great story here. We're going to. As you know, this podcast goes out to sales reps who, you know, we kind of say in quotes who are driving around selling beer all day. You yourself are a sales rep in Minneapolis for Breakthru Beverage selling beer up there. You've got quite a story that I don't think most intriguing, especially the folks driving around selling beer all day. I don't think they know it. So I'm going to kind of give the headline here and then I'm going to kind of asked you to walk through the story. So the headline here is that Kwame and his partner Jason are driving a beer truck through Minneapolis and they drive over an overpass where there is a gentleman on the other side of the fence with his toes on the edge from what I would presume was a pretty busy freeway. We'll get into those details in him and he announces to you. He says, watch me fly. And he's about to commit suicide by jumping off into the traffic. And so, Kwame, you guys actually save this this man's life. And I mean, that's just so honorable. And it's it's a great story. So what are you kind of tell us the story from your words. What what happened that day when you guys were out delivering beer?

Kwame Anderson:
So that day I was actually training and transitioning for sales. You know, you got to do a lot of merchandising. And I work in a different part of our building, but Jason who is my partner at the office.

Tracy Neal:
Yes, this is Jason. It's Jason Gable, right?

Kwame Anderson:
Yep. Jason Gable.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
Jason, a thing, even if they to be picking him by day with the keg route didn't show up. So I used to be the rock with him. So he called me and they were like quietly. Can you help out Jason for my show up? All right. Sure. Why not? I'll do it. I'll go help him out. And we go on the The first place we hit a Mount Tavern and we knock out two kegs and we have back in the truck and taken proceeds to. Instead of go straight, which is what we usually do. He decided, took a left. I'm like, what are you doing? And obviously, no, it is a new low.

Tracy Neal:
So Jason drives off the route, is what you're saying. He's supposed to go right. And he goes left for whatever reason.

Kwame Anderson:
And apart from that, we were supposed to even start in St. Louis Park.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
It's a whole different thing.

Tracy Neal:
We've got some very serendipitous events going on here. You're not supposed to be on the truck. Jason makes a wrong turn off the route. And you actually started the route in the wrong the wrong neighborhood. Right?

Kwame Anderson:
You went on 100%.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
One-hundred percent. And so I look at them and I go, where are you going? He's like, oh my God. I missed the turn. Doesn't matter what it goes away. And I just put my headphones back on. I'm like, whatever. Doesn't matter. We'll we'll finish our day.

Tracy Neal:
You put your headphones. You put your headphones back in and so you're cruising around. Right. Listening to some NSYNC?

Kwame Anderson:
Listening to some NSYNC, you know, my favorite band.

Tracy Neal:
How old are you by the way? Let's let's date this.

Kwame Anderson:
I just turned 30.

Tracy Neal:
You just turned 30 some NSYNC, huh?

Kwame Anderson:
You know, they were they were pretty great on some of their music, them. I love them. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Kwame Anderson:
But we go in and I said back in the truck, let him drive. And we start passing over a bridge and I have to start talking over a bridge. I see a guy on on the fence of the bridge. And immediately I do what everybody nowadays does. I pull out my cell phone and I start recording.

Tracy Neal:
So you pull out yourself and you start video recording?

Kwame Anderson:
Yep, video recording.

Tracy Neal:
So now this. I did some homework on the Internet and I looked you up and I studied this a little bit. So I know that this is the Rural Street Bridge on I-94 in Minneapolis. However, that doesn't really that doesn't mean anything to me and maybe to most of our listeners, when you describe this is I-94. Is it a biz? Is it a busy freeway? Is it a big freeway? Is it a popular bridge footbridge or.

Kwame Anderson:
Ninety-four West Rural Street Bridge is that four lanes of traffic on the right side heading west and the right side heading east. Well, nine total.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, so this is this is not messing around. This is a major freeway?

Kwame Anderson:
A major, major freeway. Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Did this gentleman after did he have to climb the fence to get over it? Was it just really accessible to stand on the edge?

Kwame Anderson:
I don't I don't know how he did it. He would have to climb over the fence, which is probably about seven feet tall. And you have to climb over that and go on the other side. And I order to be with you about.

Tracy Neal:
Okay, so so go ahead.

Kwame Anderson:
Now, initially, I don't know if he was on the other side of the fence. So we were driving up, I have my phone recording and asked Jack and I'm like, Holy yo Azem, right down the inside of the outside of the fence. And then Casey said, I think he's on the outside. I'm like, oh, wow, this is going to be crazy to me. I'm just thinking, I don't know what he's doing. You know, it's a 2018. I have no clue what this guy's doing. And I just figured I record so we get closer.

Tracy Neal:
This was in August. By the way. Right August of 2018?

Kwame Anderson:
Augsut 15th. I shall never forget. And we get up to him and Jason yells out, Hey, what are you doing? And the guy looks back and then he yells out. I'm going to commit suicide, watch me fly.

Tracy Neal:
So he said that was he specifically said, I'm going to commit suicide, watch me fly. And at this point, something went through your head. Because, I mean, up until now, like you said, you drove up. You see a guy stand there, you whip out your phone, decide to take some cool video because you're kind of a, you know, a bystander to something that you're not really sure what's going on. And at some point, this guy says these words. Something changes in your mind and you decide, I'm I'm not part of this and I need to be a solution. So tell me what what happened there? What were you thinking?

Kwame Anderson:
Definitely. I stopped recording and I ran up to him. And then I am like, hey, I don't know what's going on. I don't know what the reason being that period or whatever it is, come down on lots of talk about it. And he said, you don't know me. You don't care about me. Why do you care? No, sir. I don't have to know you to care about you. Come on down and we can talk about this. You don't you don't want to jump. Let's just talk. And then he turned back towards traffic and he said, I'm going to jump. I'm going to jump. And when he did that, back when I was like, all right, it was above my pay grade. I'm going to call the police. Call 911.

Tracy Neal:
I think I'm on one. I just kind of got chills when you said, sir, I don't have to know you to care about you.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah, well, quarter-mile.

Tracy Neal:
Some pretty powerful words to describe that.

Kwame Anderson:
That is definitely what you needed to hear. So I'm glad I was there at that moment. So so then I that him that, you know, you still want to jump, almost do. So I'm you know, I'm like I call police. I call 911, talk to the dispatcher. That got a guy in that red shoes. Red. She has the chance. He's going to jump and cheer me who who's there with you. And at this time, Jason went back to the truck to go move the truck. And I'm like, it's just me and him. And he's like, no, nobody else. And I'm like, well, you hired Mandy for traffic. And she's like, OK. Police units are on their way. OK. Well, what should I do before they get here? Should the police units on their way to handle it when they get there? OK. I heard that. How long before they get here? Like probably about anywhere from three to five minutes. OK. So from that time, what should I do? She's like policing the car on the way, the whole lock up quick. She clearly doesn't know what to tell me. I don't know. Three to five minutes is going to be sufficient to just walk away and let the police come out of that situation. I'm like, I got to think.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, this could be a done deal in three to five minutes. Right.

Kwame Anderson:
In two seconds we can deal.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Kwame Anderson:
So I'm like, alirght, that's what I'm thinking.

Tracy Neal:
Are you are you two feet from the fence? 10 feet from the fence? How close are you talking to this guy? Through the fence.

Kwame Anderson:
Arm's length. I'm holding on to the fence right by where he is. And he didn't see me and hear me on the phone. I've never left.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
So I hang the phone up and I started thinking I was like, I need to. Think like somebody who. Does your handle situations, you know, in in a cop fashion? So I was going to think about Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe.

Tracy Neal:
Denzel Washington?

Kwame Anderson:
We hear now he's always a cop in movie and he knows how to handle high pressure situations. So I'm like when he was to go shoot in the inside me.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, good movie.

Kwame Anderson:
I was like. But great movie. And it gave me my inspiration. So I was like, alright, I'm going to think like Denzel. And, you know, this is happening in my brain in a split second. So I'm like, all right, if I'm going to negotiate, I need to know what it is demand for that thing about. But questions arise in a report. All right. That's your job. So I you know, I go to the phones. I'm like, hey, what's your name? Because we have names like, where are you from? He tells me where he's from. And then ask me if you have any family. You know, all my family's out of state. My guy. What about any kid? It's like when my kids were out of state with the wife. I'm like, OK, so you have a wife. He's like, no, she left me with a divorce. She took the kids. I'm like, well, what about mom? It's like was like my mom and two years. I'm like, OK, well, now might be a good time. Can I get your mom? No. Then we proceed to give me mom phone number.

Tracy Neal:
Wow!

Kwame Anderson:
Give me mom phone number and then after moving in. I believe about four blocks away from the evangel and I gathered all this information about them. We're having a conversation. And then the police arrive and they're like, I know I've been wanting to step in. We've got to get some information to find my mother. I'll put you on my phone. Everything's okay. And if mom's phone number and if I woke up and you started looking back at the officers, I talked to him. They're doing their thing. And then he's getting kind of antsy.

Tracy Neal:
By the way can we can. I don't necessarily want to share this individual's full name. But can we, at least that, you know, his first name?

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah, I know his first name, first name is Leroy.

Tracy Neal:
Leroy? OK, I want to I want to stop calling him the guy. And, you know, he's a he's a real person and this is a real story. So I we first. Leroy in the proper forum. So, yeah. You're talking to Leroy and he says he's hasn't talked to his mom in two years, but he knows her phone number and his wife has left him. But he does have two kids and he lives four blocks away. You're just you're going by everything you learned on the Inside Man and Denzel Washington in that movie Inside Man, and you've got all you're putting all this in your phone as he's talking to you?

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And that way you could just hand the phone to the police when they showed up and you're like, here. I got all the information. I've been talking to him for three to five minutes.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So what happened?

Kwame Anderson:
Mommy. So to me, police step in and they probably have conversation with them and I let them talk. There are things we know about. Same question. Would they be doing their job? And I look around the bridge and I see, you know, like 20 police cars. And now the bridge is blocked off. And I look down on the highway and the highway have now been shut down to just one lane of traffic, which is a far left lane. So Casey Dempsey blacking out, you know, falling to cars and, you know, anything tragic and bouncing around it, a massive pileup will be avoided.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Kwame Anderson:
So I asked the officer, my hey, was that big? You know, it's inflatable tube you guys won't bring out. And you say you don't show that in the movie.

Tracy Neal:
That's the movie that the inflatable thing here. Oh, yeah. Feel like you're darn right it's in the movies when I get out. Right.

Kwame Anderson:
Right. That's what we need. And then I said, watch what happened with the jump. And then we fly through gravity. OK, well, then we better make sure he doesn't jump to bed. Agreed. So they continue to talk to him now. He's an African-American gentleman or. And while on the bridge, he is surrounded by cops, and I look around and I was going to, you know, just walk away and leave it in the cop hands. But I realize that. There was no other cop that looked like Leroy and myself.

Tracy Neal:
So what you're saying is that. What you're saying is that.

Kwame Anderson:
The weight is a big issue, but I know that it could be and it could be a minor factor in a situation. So, you know, I just I just stayed around and waited.

Tracy Neal:
But you're just thinking that maybe I'm not completely comfortable as the cops continue to get closer and closer and there's more of them, is that we're saying?

Kwame Anderson:
Possibly, yeah, possibly. I don't know for sure, but I'm. I just figured, let me just stay back. Let the police do their thing and I'll just wait. Talking to them for about five minutes and then, you know, it gets loud and he's like, better back up. You are going to wait for me just before I let you guys shoot me.

Tracy Neal:
I'll jump before I'll let you guys, you see? Or do you sense in this? Leroy is not comfortable.

Kwame Anderson:
We need to at this point, I realize he's not comfortable at all and I start inching towards. And then Jason see two years as well. And mine Jason grabs the opportunity like, hey, I know this is you guys, this job. But my buddy coming over here, he's a pretty smooth talker. If they eat black, I'm black. But maybe you should let him talk to him. It seems like you've only come from within. And if I could make a statement. So when the officers, they look back at me, worry me, look back at me, and he says, come on in. And I walk every night and talk to them again. And they back up and let me kind of take over again. So at this point, Leroy yells out what a cop responds. But no one's gonna shoot you or we're not going to shoot you. And then Leroy responds and says, I saw what you guys did to philando Castile, which was a big case in Minnesota. Okay. I'm with the police. I believe shooting. And at that point, you know, the police are kind with each other and go quiet on them. I objected when I might. Leroy, I'm like, nothing's going to happen to him. I'm right here. If anything happened to it can happen to me. Nothing can happen to, right? She didn't trust me. All right. He's right. I don't want a lot of like the cops, man. I'm like of cool. You know, you're not gonna be with them anymore. It's unfortunate, man. All right. So we get back talking. Mike Lee was at this point. Now the police have talked. I talked when I first got there, I was talking in between. It's about it's about 45 minutes now that we start talking.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
And I'm like Leeroy. What do I have to do to get you off the bridge? Any anything. What can I do to get you down there, Mike? Do you want money? I got money inside my truck. If you give me my money, I'll go get my wallet back. No, I'm not a beggar. I don't need any money. OK. My, do you. Do you want to. Do you want to have a meal with me? We can do company. Right now, I'm not hungry. I got food at home. OK. Do you want a drink? And when I said don't tell the poor. Do you want to drink with me on Twitter will also be if I were to. And one of the year causeway. And you were right. Maybe. And then I told the opposite, I'm like, why officers? Keep them occupied. I'll be right back. I run over to the truck to grab a 12 pack, come running back and I came up with Leroy. If you come off that bridge, I'll give you I'll give you a beer. The beer is yours. I just need you to come down. And he reaches his hand over to the firm in my direction and he starts inching towards it. And I went to the office. Officers mollified my bottom. I keep an on my greenway. That's good. We're getting closer, but each of them all the way down from use them all the way. At this point, he was in the middle of the fence in between both highways. So you got to walk all the way from the middle, all the way to the right.

Tracy Neal:
So he's on the other side of the fence and he's kind of inching his feet along the air. He can't just go. I guess he could have gone vertically back over the fence. But we saying this is kind of inching his way from the middle of the bridge all the way around to the side to go around the.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
And at this point, he's probably decided not to jump, now you're just hoping, boy, I hope he doesn't slip.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah. But about three inches of poles hanging off on the other side.

Tracy Neal:
And he's crossing the equivalent of four lanes of traffic on the bridge to literally.

Kwame Anderson:
Four lanes of traffic but, you know, by the grace of God, we get all the way to the edge and we get to safety and comes right over to.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. I mean, just what a what a powerful story and what a great opportunity. And like you said, by the graces of God, I mean, you're not supposed to be on that truck today. You're not supposed to start in that neighborhood. You're not supposed to take the turn that takes you over that bridge. But as I read in one article, it said that you guys you guys, you know, the route had one plan and God had another plan. And when you were in the right place, not only the right place, the right time, but you were the right guy. I mean, that's what I'm hearing from this story is that, you know, you were the right person that knew how to connect with him.

Kwame Anderson:
That's definitely a factor. Yes.

Tracy Neal:
Kwame, that's just awesome. I mean, you've you you saved a life and, you know, you saved a family, a couple of kids who have a dad and a mother who has a son. And I'm sure that Leroy has some friends around the neighborhood that were probably thinking, man, we didn't we didn't know this was going on with Leroy. We didn't know he was at this at this stage to where he would go do something like this.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah. Crazy a lot of people never do. I'm learning more and more about mental health. It has been a crazy journey ever since this happened.

Tracy Neal:
You know, let's segue into that for me too, because because of this story. And this story was on local news in Minneapolis. And then it made national news for no obvious, obvious reasons. You're you're you're a hero here and how you saved this. And you've kind of become a bit of a spokesperson for mental health in the workplace and suicide prevention. I know that some celebrities have reached out to you. Have you talked to. Have you share the story with Denzel Washington?

Kwame Anderson:
I speak to below Denzel. Hopefully my pen to that shall come.

Tracy Neal:
I'll text it for you, how's that?.

Kwame Anderson:
I appreciate that. Please do. We did get to speak with Anderson Cooper from CNN. As you may or may not know, his big brother committed suicide when he was young. He jumped from, I believe, a 21 story penthouse. OK. And committed suicide. So they called me to be on CNN as well. Get that hit home, him and Cooper. And then, you know, we were on, you know, Fox National, Steve Harvey and Ellen contacted us as well. But Steve Harvey shows got cancelled. We were we were supposed to go on there, focus their producers.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
But after all of that, my inbox got flooded with people and their story and just their inquiries. And I realized I didn't know how to navigate them or. Then in the proper direction.

Tracy Neal:
When you say, when you say inquires. Do you mean that people are now contacting you, saying stuff like, I don't like my life. I'm unhappy and I want to talk to you about it.

Kwame Anderson:
Yes, pretty much.

Kwame Anderson:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
Or they were just telling me about it, the depression stories or their suicide attempts or, you know, if I know a good place for people to talk, talk to somebody who can assist them. And, you know, I've been blessed not have to deal with depression. So I was able to relate in that sense, but not incapable of empathizing and having a conversation. But I wanted to learn more. So I reached back out to CNN and happened to put me in touch with one of the suicide hotline for a group of therapists that people like to grow my own knowledge. And they got me in touch with NAMI and NAMI got me in touch with Lois.

Tracy Neal:
Who is NAMI? What's NAMI stand for?

Kwame Anderson:
That's the National Association for Mental Illness.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. National Association for Mental Illness.

Kwame Anderson:
Yes.

Tracy Neal:
And I've got a couple of. Sorry, go ahead.

Kwame Anderson:
No, no. Go ahead.

Tracy Neal:
I was gonna say, I've you know, one of the other reasons I wanted to have you on this podcast was, as we talked about when we met in San Diego, is you've become the spokesperson for mental illness and suicide prevention on a national level. And ironically, very little of that has been directed towards the beer distributor network, which is what you do for a living. Right. What I want to do and I said when I talked to I said, Kwame, you know, I'm certain that there are individuals in the beer distribution network, whether their sales reps or merchandisers, sales managers, presidents, marketing people, I.T., maybe they're in the warehouse. I'm not sure. But, you know, we've got this vast group of if I had to guess, I'd say probably about two or three hundred thousand people in the beer industry across the country. And I'm certain that there are some individuals out there who are either having challenges of their own or maybe they have a family member or friend. And so I'm going to give out a couple of numbers here, and I'll do it a couple of times during the show. But the suicide prevention lifeline, if you're having trouble, pull over and write down this number. I'm going to give you to two main contacts to reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website, is suicidepreventionlifeline.org, which is kind of along your help. The phone number. It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's a live person on the other end. The phone number is 18002738255. That's 18002738255. One other resource that I have is called the crisis text line. And the crisis text line is if you just want to text and the magic word to text to this crisis text line is the word connect c-o-n-n-e-c-t, connect. So if you type connect, the number is 741741. So again, the crisis text line type the word connect to 741741. So Kwame, as you've learned about this. I mean, this is obviously not something that you were an expert at, but you're probably quickly becoming an expert. What are some of the takeaways that you'd like to pass on that you've learned about mental illness and suicide prevention in the workplace?

Kwame Anderson:
Well, a lot of people suffer from depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness. They will prohibit you from leading a regular and normal life and they can oftentimes lead to suicidal thoughts. So he can't take that for granted because you don't know who just sitting right next to you could be going through just the worst time of their life and putting on a smile and then go home and try to commit suicide. So many people tell the story of their family committing suicide lately. And ever since this event happened and then contacting me on a regular basis that, you know, I just felt obligated to learn more and do whatever I can to help prevent make my mark, so to speak, in the community, to help them and save more lives, because each each and every one of us has the capability to save somebody. And all we have to do is have a conversation literally that this annually. Forty six thousand people commit suicide every fifteen minutes, somebody commit suicide. And if we take one minute to talk with somebody and ask them about their day and then really ask them every day, you could change your entire life.

Tracy Neal:
Wow. And I think, again, going back to those special words that you said on the bridge that really made my skin stand on and you said, I don't have to know you to care about you.

Kwame Anderson:
Man still still stand by that. Definitely.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome, and you know. One other thing that I'm going to do, Kwami is on our money about these numbers one more time, but I think also on our website, the iSellBerr website is isellbeer.com on the website here for the month of December. We're going to create a little section on the home page that features these resources so that if you are driving around right now and it's just not optimal to pull over and write these numbers down, certainly you can remember the URL, isellbeer.com. And on there we will do a special section dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention with these resources. But again, the suicide prevention lifeline is 18002738255 and the crisis text line is text the word connect 2741741. And again, both of those are 24/7. And there is a real person on the other end that you can connect with. So Kwame that is and you're just you're just such an inspirational person. And it's it's amazing how you've been chosen to take on you know, you didn't you didn't ask for this. You didn't decide that this was going to be your mission one day, but right place, right time, right person and certainly with the gifts and talents to be able to make a difference. And so I applaud you on that. It's really good to see all the things that you're doing. And you've certainly educated in like me on the challenges that are out there with individuals.

Kwame Anderson:
Thank you very much.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome, well. Normally in this podcast, I get around to the big question, which is tell me about your first day on the job. Tell me how you got started. And so I'd like to continue with that part of the podcast, because up until this up until this point, most of the guests on the podcast had been senior level executives. Right. And I did get some feedback. The other day from a couple of friends. Is it, hey, when you gonna have a sales rep on the podcast or somebody who's one of us? Somebody who's out there riding the route and taking the orders and talking to the retailer. So Kwame when you tell me, how did you get started in the beer business? Again, you're up at Breakthru Beverage in Minneapolis, Minnesota, saving lives with Coors Light. But how did you get started?

Kwame Anderson:
So I do find a body. Who told me, hey, if you need some work, I just got back from D.C.. Do will take it. So I get back here. I needed to replenish some savings and my buddy said, hey, you can come work with me and drive for the company. And, you know, you get good hours, good pay change a little bit. Physical, but you'll be all right. And you know, I when I apply, I got the job and started delivering delivering beer.

Tracy Neal:
So you started as a driver. Yeah. Okay. Tell me about your first day on the job, I mean, the first day is always kind of a first when they enter this industry that they've always got a story about the first day on the job.

Kwame Anderson:
First day you've got to come in, you gotta drive with somebody. You've got to learn, you know, location. You gotta learn the step by step. I was out with my first thought that goes with this guy named Sleepy. We call him because he looks just like one of the seven dwarves.

Tracy Neal:
So you drive with Sleepy on your first day?

Kwame Anderson:
Ye, Sleepy, me and Sleep and, you know, you gotta learn how to scoop. You know, that's the day you can't prove and you got dance like everything on a regular basis, so you don't know how to scoop it all up.

Tracy Neal:
Well, you gotta learn it. You'll learn how to do the hand track to right.

Kwame Anderson:
The hand truck?

Tracy Neal:
Did you have a hand truck when you were or what did you use?

Kwame Anderson:
Lose the wheel.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So this is a 6 wheeler? You mean are you why are we talking about the same thing in terms of a dolly?

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah, the dolly.

Tracy Neal:
The dolly. Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
Yes. Oh, my. That that was the first part. That was the first part. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Well, yeah, because if you go and knowledge you got that dolly perfectly balanced. You can run circles around here. All right. And if you don't owe.

Tracy Neal:
Well, that if you don't even know how to use the galley correctly, you likely don't understand just the miniscule physics that goes in to clipping a box properly to slide a wheeler underneath it. Or the dolly underneath it just to scoop the boxes up and they have to pick up the boxes and then put them on the wheeler in order to move them, which takes twice as much time and twice as much energy. Yes. So, you know, you want to learn to work smarter, not harder than that. That was tough for the first leg. Was I kidding? I couldn't do it. And. You were hot, it was hot was a hot summer day. I woke up in a cold sweat. But I learned, learned, progressed. And I knew I wanted to be in sales. I automatically applied for a sales position that made me the lovely. They took me in and, you know, I went in merchandising and they were teaching me the merchandising aspect of things that when. We just all happened with with my buddy Jason. So I went on keg row. I went on a regular KHL mission and then transitioned to Keg Road and kick them more fun than cases. I would say.

Tracy Neal:
Why are kegs more fun than cases?

Kwame Anderson:
Well, people have a real. I guess. Kind of a negative outlook on on kegs. They think they're super heavy. They think they're just dangerous. You're going to break your back. You to be going to hurt yourself. So nobody wants to do them. But for example, if you have a keg row and say you go to a store and you've got to put in 200 cases, you've got to take all those cases off the charts down to step them. You've got a scoop them up and then you got to carry them inside the store. If you've got a kegger out, you might at most have, you know, fifteen, twenty kids going in somewhere. You throw them bad with off the hair. They're heavy, but you got the other hand around my grand balls even to swing them or I'm glad that you have to be nice with them like you actually would profit to just throw them around and get out the permanent. Will you throw them inside there. Can't call you up. I'm going to drop in on a cold day, which is the worst. If you have 20 cases won the cold for a long time downthat came out the cold and bad boys go back inside your bag in a truck.

Tracy Neal:
By the way, does it get cold in Minneapolis?

Kwame Anderson:
You know, I've heard stories of Minnesota cold.

Tracy Neal:
You don't really how cold. How cold does it get in Minneapolis?

Kwame Anderson:
I think the worst is that I've had to deal with a negative 20 with a wind chill of an extra point.

Tracy Neal:
So making it feel like a -20 with a windchill an extra 20 degrees.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. I'm in I'm out in California. It's about about 46, 47 degrees a day and I'm freezing my buns off.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah. I can I can I can only imagine how horrible to before you call.

Tracy Neal:
Now Kwame. One other thing I want to bring bring up. Great story. On your first day at work and during the keg's around. You're also a professional comedian. I found this in research and talking about it in San Diego. Tell me about your professional comedian career.

Kwame Anderson:
Well, you know, I'd like to say comedian. I look like a professional, but until I get that little blue checkmark on my on my Twitter page, on my Instagram.

Tracy Neal:
Do you have you have a blue checkmark or you're aspiring to get the blue checked?

Kwame Anderson:
I'm aspiring to get it.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
I'm aspiring to get it. Fine. Yes I do a lot of.

Tracy Neal:
How does one get the blue checkmark on Twitter?

Kwame Anderson:
You know, I don't even know. I think Twitter has to verify your celebrity. And then they get me to check Mark. They're like, oh, we verified. Boom.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So did you do stand up, local clubs in Minneapolis. You take your show on the road.

Kwame Anderson:
I do. I do. I might add a bunch of shows and do you see my do about 20 different colleges in the Twin Cities? Men have already done them. And then a lot of events, corporate events, weddings, hosting parties. All of it a lot. I got to hope for the Super Bowl when they came here. I got to host a couple of events with Migos, same Cardi B and all of those big guys, Diddy and them, they came into town. So it has a perks and benefits.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. Congratulations. Well, since we're trying to get you. What is your what is your Twitter handle since we're trying to get you to the blue checkmark? We can at least send this out to a couple of thousand listeners.

Kwame Anderson:
That will work. That will work. My my Twitter handle is Kwami Speeks and that is S-P-E-E-K-S, Kwame, K-W-A-M-E, S-P-E-E-K-S. Kwame Speeks.

Tracy Neal:
All right, I'm following it as we speak. From iSellBeer Nation.

Kwame Anderson:
Gotcha. I will accept that and my Instagram as well. Is Kwame Speeks.

Tracy Neal:
Kwame Speeks. And Twitter and speaks is with the double E!

Kwame Anderson:
Double E's already got rid of the AK. So how do get you know? Shabby on them.

Tracy Neal:
All right. So, Kwame Let's let's jump back to the beer distributor role, your sales rep today. Right. You've been promoted, your sales rep. How long have you been a sales rep?

Kwame Anderson:
We started in October.

Tracy Neal:
October, so just. It's December of 2018 right now, so only.

Kwame Anderson:
A very, very small, small time frame. We got a lot to learn.

Tracy Neal:
What you love about it. What's your favorite thing about being a sales rep and selling beer every day?

Kwame Anderson:
The guys who I get to run into, you know, making people feel better about their interaction with me than they did with the previous person, I'm I'm real keen on trying to have a better experience. For the individuals under a better experience with me than they did the last person. So, you know, whatever they didn't like. Tell me if I can accommodate that. I'll let you know. But I'm like, I don't like a lot of you like to sell dreams. And it could be the way of the world. But I don't I don't think we can do it. I'm not. I'm gonna let you know. We we can't do that for you. Somebody might might keep telling you they can do something for you and it never gets done. But you stay around because they keep telling you they're going to do it. And I'm not one to lead people on like that.

Tracy Neal:
Are there any other the incentives going on right now?

Kwame Anderson:
We always have incentives for people that we love the most. So I'll tell you, I'll tell you that. But in terms of the holiday, we will have.

Tracy Neal:
I mean, for you as a I mean, for you as a sales rep, right. Does a sales organization heavy incentives going on right now where you have a particular product that you need to sell? Incremental displays or additional points of distribution promos? In fact, I didn't even ask you as if you're out on premise or off premise or is it a combo route?

Kwame Anderson:
Combo. Combo. Yeah, I'm with. I'm I'm we're working with Total Wines and they've got me with two different spots in Eagen, so.

Tracy Neal:
I'm sorry, was that another story you just mentioned.

Kwame Anderson:
The total wine and two different spots out in Egan.

Tracy Neal:
Okay Egan.

Kwame Anderson:
Yep. Yep. So I'm still learning all of it. I don't I don't get to have full control yet because, you know, it takes a while for to pass that torch. But I'm still learning the learning and our kegs are gonna grow cause like it's our go to guy, especially when it comes to my keg, which is what they might have me doing the most of.

Tracy Neal:
Ok. Awesome. To wrap this thing up, I mean, you've had you've had a storied career, and I feel like it's actually only getting started. It do an amazing thing is that the marketplace should do an amazing take on a national level. Is there anyone out there that you want to give a shout out to that has helped helped you grow or toward you or made it a big difference in your career up until now?

Kwame Anderson:
I would be like if, say, Tom, Tom Camel, me boss. And Pat O'Conell my other boss. So most to have been in my corner since since day one. And then as this happens, you know, we've we've grown closer because we've got to do more things together, work related and outside of work. So it's been a it's been a pretty awesome ride. And those two are super awesome. And then when it comes to comedy, I'd just like to thank Shaggy's. He is my mentor. You guys may not know him, but you might know Tyler Perry. He is the stunt double for Tyler Perry, a.k.a. Madea.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Kwame Anderson:
So I'd like to thank him as well for all of his continued support. And those guys are all in my corner cause I can't be of my family. That beautiful girl you met with me out in California. And. Yeah, every everybody who supports me is.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome.

Kwame Anderson:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome Kwame. Thank you so much for spending time with us, so many of these numbers out one more time. The suicide prevention hotline. The phone number is 1800273855 and the crisis text line. If you text the word connect 741741. I'm gonna let Kwame take us out with a final comment here. But my my big takeaway here is that, you know, sometimes sometimes you're not having the best day. And what I mean by that is you take a wrong turn. And, you know, when I take a wrong turn, I get I am mad at myself. I yell at myself, I get frustrated. I'm wasting time. I'm not on the route I thought I was supposed to be on. And I get mad. I'm taking away from this is you know, it's sometimes there's a bigger plan. Maybe sometimes I'm taking the wrong turn for a really, really good reason. Maybe sometimes something has not gone. I planned it my day for a really good reason. And I'm about to be in the special way that you were when you saved a man's life. So, Kwame, any any final thoughts for us today? Anything that you'd like to leave the audience with?

Kwame Anderson:
I like telling people that it's okay to talk about your day. And I mean the most literal and in-depth form. It's okay to talk about your day, tell people how you really feel and hopefully you can save a life.

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. Kwame, I've enjoyed this so much. Thank you for giving us your time. Thank you for sharing sharing your story. Thank you. And God bless Leroy. He's out there, I'm sure. I want to go too much. And was that the personal side of his story? But let's just say God bless Leroy, right where we hope he's doing well and the quality and make it a great day out there in the trade and enjoy the iSellBeer podcast while you're out there driving around all day selling beer.

Kwame Anderson:
Yes we will.

Tracy Neal:
All right. Thanks, Kwame. So what's the best tasting beer in America? Who cares? That's for the consumer to decide. And until they do, you will keep selling them new brands every day as the distributor's sales rep. You can become a part of the iSellBeer Nation by subscribing to this podcast and using the #iSellBeer in all your social posts. Also, be sure to join the iSellBeer Nation Facebook group and visit our website. Our industry is an up and down the street business where local relationships matter. I want to thank you for making me part of your day and wish you good luck on the objectives for your next account call. In fact, I know you're gonna crush it.

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