My mum put the cup of tea on the table by the sofa I was sitting on – she sat on the other sofa next to my dad. I swallowed hard with nerves. As a sales person of 8 years, I had pitched to some of the hardest buyers from some big corporate clients but somehow selling to your parents is the hardest thing of all…
“Mum, Dad, I have had enough of my job, I have decided to quit and join Tequila Pancho Datos”
To be fair, tequila in the UK is still going through its journey of being properly understood. When we had this conversation 18 months ago, it was even more underappreciated than it is today! It must have sounded like:
“Mum, Dad, I have decided to quit my job and sell ice over the internet…” (shameless Friends quote but quite fitting).
I had to pick my mum off the floor. Not really, but she did have her head in her hands for about 15 minutes. She still worries but has been one of my biggest supporters since (although getting her to drink it is hard work!). My dad, on the other hand, did not flinch, he just looked at me and said “Whatever you want to do we will support you”.
Although this might seem like a minimal response, anyone who knows my father will know this means “I love you and I have complete faith in you”. And that was it. He never said to me one word of caution, doubt or negativity – just gave me 100% faith. I have taken that belief into everything I have done since.
My father passed away 6 months later – he lost his 3 year battle with cancer.
He passed in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic. I was still working my notice at my old job when he left us. I never got to show him that he was right – that there was no reason to doubt that we could be successful.
Last year was a turbulent year for so many and for me it will be one I will never forget. Full of heartbreak and sorrow, but hope and new beginnings. In the midst of lockdown, I was starting a new business venture with my original scope being to walk up and down the streets of our biggest cities, and get as many bars and restaurants selling our tequila as possible (good plan!). Plan A went out the window but we turned to plan B, and how we have grown! I turned all the distress I had into my work and every day I think about my dad. He is my motivation.
My father was one of my biggest heroes. In a lot of ways, we spent most of our time together in unawkward silences, enjoying each other’s company without having to say anything. It is hard to describe but walking the dog with him, going to the pub or watching the football didn’t require much conversation. Just good laughs and being together. It was not only ok, but it was also something that I longed for when we were not together, and something I miss so dearly now.
He was a true leader. He taught me how to be a man without saying a single word. I can’t get more inspiration than that. And in years to come, when I am in my last days (about 10 years from now with the amount of tequila, mezcal and sotol I am drinking), if I have become half the man he was, I will know I have given everything in this world to be the best person I can be.
The day after my dad passed away I messaged Pete, James and Luis to tell them the news. We raised a glass of our reposado tequila that night for him. James was the first to respond to my message and he said something I will never forget:
“We are going to do your father proud and make this a huge success”.