When I was a little girl, around six or seven, I was cruel. I don't mean I intended to be, and maybe that is too big a word, but I was thoughtless. I'll give you an example. There was, in our neighborhood group of kids, one little girl who was mentally slow. And we all took delight in making fun of her. I was the ring leader.
I know. It's awful. But I always tell you the truth, and that is the truth.
One day, we were playing on the dead-end street I lived on, and there was construction going on. There was a hole in the ground of the alleyway, with a plank over the hole, with water and mud below.
I thought it would be fun and funny and take turns walking the plank, and the funny part was, I was sure that Betsy, the slower child, would not be able to do it.
Sure enough, when it was her turn, she gamely tried and fell into the mud, and started crying. We all burst out laughing.
A neighbor had a college-aged son, and he had a friend visiting that day, and he saw what we did. He didn't know us at all, but he spotted that I was the ringleader of the cruel fun, and he came and got down on my level and told me very clearly, looking straight into my eyes with sincerity, that when people act the way I did, others get hurt, not only physically, but their feelings hurt too, and he described what those feelings would be, like the Proverb, that says there exist companions who like to break one another to pieces. And he said I must never do anything like that again.
I never forgot that feeling or his eyes. It was like I had been hit by lightning, seeing his honest distress and having Betsy's feelings described for me. For whatever reason, I had never before thought of what the victim of my behavior might feel. Isn't that amazing? We're not born with empathy, I guess, or at least I wasn't, and someone had to teach it to me.
Anyway, that is how I learned empathy, and I will be forever grateful to George for explaining it to me. And he would be proud of me, I hope, because I never again in my life was knowingly cruel to anyone, thanks to a stranger who took the time to teach me that other people have feelings and that I can deeply affect them.
Sometimes when you are a public figure, people think you have no feelings, that they can say whatever they wish, and you just have to endure it. And when you had no intention of becoming a public figure, unlike Madonna who craved it, but instead end up willy nilly thrust into the public eye due to a lawsuit or some other event beyond your control, the sheer cruelty with which some pick you apart and assume the worst of your motives and goals is a real shock. I've experienced it myself to some degree, so I don't have to just imagine it. Something like that happened
to Val Kreidel.
I received an email from Brent Noorda yesterday, asking if I would be willing to publish a statement from him, clarifying the record and defending his sister's memory.
When I read what he wrote, it brought tears to my eyes, because what happened can't be undone.
Here is Mr. Noorda's statement:
Much has been written about my sister, Val Kreidel, by those who never knew or met her. From following the media coverage, I can tell that most publications value journalistic standards and are concerned with reporting correct information. Others are in stark contrast when, in covering the same information, they seem to care more about drama and influencing the market than about truth and common decency.
But the journalistic integrity of any publication is defeated when articles, such as those recently appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, include quotes from “analysts” who are completely misleading and just plain wrong about nearly every fact and interpretation. When the information provided by analysts like Rob Enderle and Laura DiDio weren’t incorrect, their statements represented speculation more fitting to a daytime soap opera than to the business section of a newspaper.
I would like to set the record straight: Val never expected financial gain from Canopy for herself or any of her four siblings. She was never the driving force of lawsuits, nor did she ever pull the strings of Bill Mustard or have any other interest in running things at Canopy; her role was only as an adviser based on her experience in finances. Val did play a role in a foundation set up by the Noordas, which yearly gives millions of dollars, anonymously, to various charities, but that is entirely independent from Canopy. So Canopy has no leadership vacuum, but is instead finally in the hands of a seasoned professional, hired for his qualified background and proven abilities, and overseen and scrutinized by an independent board of directors -- this puts Canopy in the strongest position it has held in recent years.
I have no clue where a statement about heart failure could have originated.
As a statement regarding all press I believe it is correct to say that in the past year Val's families (Noorda and Kreidel) have not told anything to any reporter or to the press in any way, directly or through any intermediary, except two short press releases (the settlement statement and the short confirmation of Val's passing). Any other information that was reported had to have come from other sources.
The inaccuracies and accusations hurt. In recent months there have been many such speculative accusations in newspapers and journals, and especially on the internet. In particular these accusations have centered on my sister, Val Kreidel, and they have caused immeasurable pain. Val did nothing more nor less than to provide emotional support to my parents after they came to believe that the results of their positive lifetime legacy, meant to provide benefit to the many hardworking people of Utah valley, were being misappropriated for the benefit of just a few self-serving individuals. As I said at my sister’s funeral, “Val was always the first to provide help to her family, to friends, and to strangers, many of whom will never know that it was Val who provided the assistance.” In the Canopy legal situation, Val was only doing what she always did, which was to help, no matter the personal sacrifice (which in this case was ultimately too great).
For some reason, Val was singled out and labeled as a villain, and so Val suffered the relentless hammering of opposing lawyers for months. Val seemed unable to stop herself from reading the fantastic fictions of analysts in the papers, and the idle speculations of unknown accusers on the internet. The onslaught was too much.
Why did the lawsuits and slanderous analysts and anonymous internet posters pick on Val Kreidel in making their accusations of greed and ulterior motives? They could as well have chosen me, or any of my siblings, or any friend assisting my parents. Indeed, in this suit-happy society they could have chosen to direct their hurtful scorn at any person who tries to help another. Why must they assume the worst of motivations? Why not accept the simplest and most correct motivation: that a daughter simply answered the request for help from her aged parents.