Could you tell us a little bit about the real life friendship that inspired Conversations on the Bench? Interview by “With Five Questions”

Robbie was a young college student when he met Sebastian in the mid-1990s. They met while both working at a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Robbie was a full-time student studying finance, business, economics, etc. and worked full time. Sebastian had an educational background in economics and worked two jobs–tax investigator by day and hotel reservationist by night. They would spend hours talking about everything going on in their worlds and the world at large. And thus began a lifelong friendship. After Robbie graduated from college, Sebastian had some very poignant words of wisdom and anecdotes to share to help the young college grad get through some tough times. Robbie ended up starting his own successful business at about the same time that Sebastian was forced to retire due to health issues. That gave them the opportunity to spend a lot of time together, Sebastian mentoring Robbie and giving him encouragement, and Robbie integrating Sebastian in the business as much as possible.

They ended up starting a think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe, to share their writings about any topic they could debate as well as their economic commentaries and research. As Sebastian’s health declined, Robbie was there to offer support and encouragement, just as Sebastian had been there for him. These two guys had this great brotherly relationship. Robbie even referred to Sebastian on many occasions as the brother he never had. And I think Sebastian liked that and really thought of Robbie as his little brother. He was there for Robbie to give him advice on women, relationships, business, whatever, and all the advice came from Sebastian’s own experiences. It’s the type of friendship that very few people are lucky enough to find in this life. It’s really just a heartwarming and truly inspirational friendship that I have recounted in Conversations on the Bench.

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