You’ve never heard of him?
Neither had I until I heard what he did.
Keith Fitzhugh is a conductor for the Northern Southern Railroad just outside of Atlanta. He is 24 years old.
Prior to joining the railroad, Keith played football for Mississippi State and then chased his dream of playing in the NFL for the better part of two years. He spent time with the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, but never secured a steady spot on any roster. It was only after he was cut by the Jets for the third time that Fitzhugh decided to hang up his cleats for good.
“I’ve got something now where I know every two weeks I’m getting a paycheck,” he said.
Did Keith Fitzhugh give up on his dream too soon? Is he a quitter? Did he lose his nerve? Is he playing it too safe?
I don’t think so.
Because the story doesn’t end there.
Last week the New York Jets offered him another contract. Gang Green are 9-4 and fighting for a playoff spot. Some optimists have even speculated they have the potential to advance to this year’s Super Bowl.
Shockingly, Keith declined their offer.
“I don’t knock the Jets at all,” he said. “I highly appreciate them.”
So why would he rather work on a train instead of play professional football?
Now for the rest of the story.
Keith’s father, Keith Sr., is sick, disabled and unable to work. Working on the railroad, Keith is in close proximity to his mom and dad. He’s also able to provide a steady paycheck that helps the family make ends meet.
“It would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Fitzhugh admitted, reflecting on the chance to get back into the NFL. “But you only get one mom and one dad. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’d rather be there for my mom and dad.”
I admire this young man’s ability to take the very long view of life. He has his priorities straight.
How many twenty year olds, when faced with such a choice, would choose a steady paycheck in order to help their folks instead of chasing fame and fortune?
Bringing this down to the very personal, how many of us are willing to forego career advancement, maybe a raise or more status or prestige – to simply but nobly serve our Lord and family?
It’s been said that you should never trade time for money; Keith Fitzhugh has certainly embodied such a principle.
Please join me in praying for Keith’s dad as well as the entire Fitzhugh family.