Anne Hastings Profile (Part three of four)
This is the third part of a four-part publication of excerpts of my draft article on Fonkoze that profiles Anne Hastings, the CEO of Fonkoze Financial Services. The article is a precursor to my book. This installment is a single story about Anne, one of my favorites about her determination, powers of persuasion, and personal courage.
In 2006, Hastings was en route to a conference I was organizing in India when her purse containing a passport, cell phone, wallet and jewelry was stolen by a crooked security guard at the airport. (He convinced his colleagues to detain Hastings before going through the metal detector while her purse lay unattended on the other wide of the scanner – giving him time to grab it and run through a door leading to the parking lot.)
Determined to continue on her journey to India, she reached the guard on her cell phone and explained – in heated Creole – that she needed her belongings back and that his mother would not approve of what he had done. Against reason she tried to convince him that the conference in India was essential for Haiti’s development. (Like many humanitarian giants, they believe in the basic goodness of all people and their ability to bring it out through argument and persuasion.)
The thief demanded more money in exchange for the passport, and let on to Hastings and her trusted “fixer” Alexandre Hector that he had just been to a grimy brothel three miles from the airport. Hastings immediately decided to go to the brothel. Throughout the drive, she was yelling at the driver to go faster, while Hector tried to convince her to slow down and consider other options. Unarmed and without any police presence, they ultimately barged into a room they correctly figured out was the one used by the thief. There, they were greeted by a large Haitian man (who they quickly realized was not the robber) with a towel wrapped around this waist and a naked woman on the bed. Undeterred, she walked past the brothel patron and found her belongings (minus the cash) in a desk drawer, collected everything, and rushed back to make the last flight to Miami that day.