As if being the inspiration for a #1 New York Times bestselling book and Oscar-winning movie wasn’t enough, the Tuohy family achieved a truly rare feat at Keller Williams Family Reunion: they made Mo Anderson, vice chairman of the board, blush.
Sean Tuohy, who along with his wife, Leigh Anne, raised National Football League star Michael Oher, told Mo that she could call him “Darlin’” all day. When Anderson asked what he would change about the film adaptation,” he deadpanned, “I would have made it about you.”
They Tuohys and their daughter, Collins, shared stories about their life before and after adopting Michael and the effects of newfound fame. They challenged Keller Williams family members to be compassionate and generous toward everyone they encounter and to seek opportunities to make a difference.
As recounted in Michael Lewis’ The Blind Side and the film adaptation of the book, the Tuohys rescued Michael from a difficult childhood and unpromising future. “Society had deemed my son 100 percent valueless,” Leigh Anne said. “We need a cure for stupidity!” Years later, their friend Nick Saban, who had just won a national championship as the coach of the LSU Tigers, noted presciently that Michael would soon be the top high school recruit in the nation and would go on to excel in college and the NFL. (During a Q&A, Anderson was quick to remind their friend that her University of Oklahoma Sooners had just beaten his Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.)
“Families don’t have to match,” Leigh Anne said. “If there’s not someone in your social circle who doesn’t look like you, shame on you!”
Collins also stressed the importance of small acts of kindness. “It’s not the $1 million checks that matter, it’s the little things,” Collins said.
Every time one of the Tuohys mentioned a city – such as Baltimore, where their son plays for the Ravens, or Memphis, where they live – Keller Williams associates cheered wildly. “Wow, you have places everywhere!” Sean exclaimed. “We’re all over the world,” Anderson exclaimed. Sean said he liked the crowd and the values they represent so much he might pursue a real estate license. (The Tuohys own dozens of restaurant franchises.)
Asked what the ONE thing they wanted Keller Williams family members to take away from their talk, Leigh Anne said: “You are a family. It’s not about blood. It’s about loving someone who doesn’t look like you.”
Or as Sean succinctly put it: “We challenge you to turn around and make a difference.”