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Like everyone I never got the chance to say farewell to Alberto ‘Pancho’ Motta, Director of Motta Internacional and President of the International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores (IAADFS).
Tragically, Pancho passed away suddenly shortly after the 2016 Duty Free Show of the Americas in Orlando. At this year’s event, almost a year later, the IAADFS paid fitting tribute to him with a special video shown at the Gala Dinner and the presentation of a US$50,000 cheque to his favourite cause, cleft charity Operation Smile.
[Click on the icon to view the video]
Pancho’s widow Loraine was joined on stage by the Motta family and the IAADFS Board as association Chairman and Motta Internacional President Erasmo Orillac presented the cheque to Pancho’s son Tito.
His voice cracking with emotion, Tito said: “My father and our family enjoyed helping other people and this is a way of helping and changing lives really fast through Operation Smile.”
In words that brought many guests to tears, Erasmo then responded on behalf of the family. He said: “Life does not always give us all we want. It is really up to us to make of life what we can. As many of you know, Pancho and I were brothers, partners and friends for 69 years. All of us would have liked to have had him for more time but that was not to be.
“The eight pillars of joy are perspective, humility, humour & laughter, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. Pancho had all the pillars.”
“During this last year, both family and friends have missed him but we have also benefited from his memory. He put so much into life, his wife, his children, grandchildren, wider family, and of course work, both for our own organisation and often for the benefit of others. It is this positive light of having known and spent time with Pancho that brings us to this moment of celebration. Recognition of his contribution is a celebration.”
He then quoted from ‘The Book of Joy’ by Douglas Abrams, which tells the story of a week spent together by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. “The book,” said Erasmo, “is a discussion of subjects we all deal with: stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, passing through difficulties, and, of course, sadness and grief. They determine that the eight pillars of joy are: perspective, humility, humour & laughter, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. Pancho had all the pillars.
“In grief we reach out to each other because it is in hard times that we bond even more. The way through sadness is to believe that if the one you lost could see you full of hope and determination they would be happy.
“Pancho was blessed with giving people a part of himself in a most unexpected way. Joy is a way of approaching the world and Pancho certainly had that.”
Farewell then one final time Pancho, a man who brought so many things to so many people. And, most of all, brought joy.