Day 10 – The Puzzle


“Where’s Austin”


Long story short, he’s at the TOP! 


But first, let’s talk about where this all started.


The date was April 15th, 2021 and I was in need of some help moving into our new offices and starting the remodel process.


I did what I always do in those instances, I made a post on Facebook asking for help.


A friend Casey tagged a guy from the gym named Austin.   Little did I know the important piece Austin would become in our company.


For two weeks Austin helped out in the office.  Moving desks, helping me demolish stuff and honestly, pretty much anything I asked of him. He was a beast, and when I say moving desks, maybe I should explain. The office came fully furnished and there were around 60 HEAVY wood desks, many of them L-Shaped.  There were many instances in which he moved the same desks, many times since I couldn’t make my mind up 🙂


Then about a month later he responded to another post I made looking for an assistant.  The decision was pretty easy, so Austin was now a full time employee. 

That was also the same month we set out on the road with the America’s Best Restaurants Roadshow.  The ABR Roadshow and America’s Best Restaurants was an idea I’d been working on for 4 years, and this time we were UPPING our game.  Instead of Matt Plapp filming on a cell phone, we were doing it RIGHT

I’d tasked our marketing director, David Schlotter, with helping me develop the show and put together our crew.  Unbeknownst to us, Austin was familiar with cameras and loved the idea of being a videographer.  So within a month I lost my assistant and America’s Best Restaurants gained it’s first full time employee (now that division has 28 just 3 years later).

So with that Austin was off and running, in fact he would end up being on the road for 2-3 weeks per month for 2 years filming at independent restaurants nationwide.  He was never sick, never missed a shoot and never complained.  He was what they call A COMPANY MAN!

During that time we created the saying “where’s Austin”.  It was a saying with multiple meanings.  It seemed like every time we were around Austin, in the office and on the road, he’d disappear.  And then later it morphed into “where’s Austin”, as in what city is he in now.  

So with that, to have some fun, we made shirts that said “where’s Austin”.  

Last week as I saw the shirt laying on my dresser I thought about his journey with me and the company.  And then I looked at the shirt and thought “he’s at the top baby!”   A guy who started off moving desks, is now helping run a multi million dollar media empire.  The saying “ride or die” was meant for him.  It gets me emotional to type this.  It’s so cool to see a guy start where he did and be where he is today.  But it’s even more humbling to know that he did that for me. 

On Wednesday April 10th I emailed myself to write the post titled “where’s Austin”, and then this happened.  

Today, at 2am I’m awake for some reason and my phone alert for our office alarm goes off.  I do the math, it’s 5am back home.  Who they hell is in the office that early I think, hoping it’s one of my peeps getting an early start 🙂

When I look at the cameras I see Austin, running through the building.  I’m thinking, shit, what’s wrong.  What’s he doing.  So I text him and find out that he’s in a hurry to catch a plane, no details.  

So of course I pry, and ask what’s up.  I’m thinking something happened on the road with one of our crews, but that wasn’t the case.  It turns out one of our vans was having maintenance done during the off week and Austin wanted to make sure it was ready for the crew Monday morning.  In fact he’s picking the van up and driving it MANY hours to get them closer to the first restaurant Monday.

WOW, are you kidding me. How did I get this fucking lucky!!!  How did I find this guy.  Damn I’m lucky.  

I always say the universe knows.  It knew that in my inbox was an email to write this blog about Austin, and it had to show me just how awesome he really was, as if I didn’t already know!

Thank you Austin, I’m glad we found you in 2021 and I’m even happier to know WHERE YOU ARE 🙂 

And my friends, that’s todays PUZZLE PIECE


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