Why Darren LaCroix is the Nicest Guy In The World or How I Flashed the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking - Part I


In 2001, Darren LaCroix beat out 25,000 other speakers to become the World Champion of Public Speaking. Since that time, he has spoke to companies and audiences around the world, authored books, and presented speaking boot camps.

Darren is the keynote speaker this weekend at our Toastmaster District 37 Spring Conference. Earlier this week, one of our District officers asked if I could drive Darren to a 5:45 a.m. TV interview he had with WXII. Although it meant getting up at 3:30, I didn’t mind. Shepherding people is a great way to get face time with busy individuals, and I was interested in talking to Darren about his speaking.

What many of you may not know is that I am directionally challenged. Severely. I’ll get lost in the bathroom if there’s not a sign on the toilet pointing me toward the shower. So in preparation, I mapquested directions from my house to Darren’s hotel, as well as from the hotel to WXII.

I should have been warned when the directions to the hotel were off. Mapquest had me turning the wrong way down a one-way street. I circled the block and managed to find my way there. Met Darren in the lobby. Very nice man in a lovely suit. We walked to my car, which I’d parked under the awning as it was pouring rain.

So we set off in the dark and the rain—neither, by the way, which I can see in. I try to avoid driving at night and in the rain whenever possible. But whatever.

Mapquest said to take Cherry Street to Marshall Street. But the first street we came to was Marshall. Yea! This would be easier than I thought. I turned on Marshall and within a mile we dead-ended in a construction parking lot. Okaaay. I must have gone the wrong way on Marshall. I turn the car around and start back up the street. Only when I pass through a traffic light do I realize that I’m going the wrong way down a one-way street.

Crap, crap, crap. I’m trying to appear calm and in control and Darren—world’s nicest guy—is acting like he believes me. But we both suspect we’re screwed.

We start back at the hotel and follow the mapquest directions. We get on Cherry Street but guess what? Marshall runs parallel to Cherry and there’s no way to turn on it. In desperation, I call Blair. Thankfully, Cherry Street was correct and that took us right to WXII.