Ashley Chanthaphuang

Mr. Ausherman walked through the doors at a Best Western Hotel in Fresno, California in 2009 where I was the Revenue Manager. He was checked-in for a night or two where we both quickly engaged with one another as I had a heart for geriatric individuals because older folks were knowledgeable and experienced in life. After Duane brought in his belongings and had dinner, he came back to the hotel lobby as we conversed for another hour or so in between other guests checking-in.

Later in the evening, Duane offered $1 or $2 with both hands behind his back. Of course being in business and coming from an entrepreneur family, I accepted the $2. Duane opened both hands and showed a silver coin on one palm and a two dollar bill in the other. I listened carefully to what he had to share, he told me to not be greedy with what is in front of me. Over time, the silver coin can be worth more than a two dollar bill if I held on to it for some time. With this offer, he didn’t offer me just a $2, he offered me the best advise. Less is sometimes more, greed may make you work harder not smarter. I still have this bill with me in a safe as a sentiment memory of Duane. I often times will open the safe and remind myself of that goofy man I call my friend. During my Laos wedding in 2017, it is tradition to give $1 to the elders blessing us with longevity and an abundance of love. Instead of $1, we handed the infamous two dollar bill in memory of Duane. Unfortunately, Duane was not able to attend our wedding, but if he did, he would have understood why I gave away the two dollar bill.

Duane would check in often every month or so to visit his friends in Fresno. He was always going from one town to another and stopping by Fresno. We had exchanged contact information and would talk on and off about his journey and what I had going on. Although we do not communicate on a daily or weekly basis, I do read his emails and connect with him from time to time. When we do talk, it’s like no time has passed.

One day, he brought Vanessa Madrid to the hotel as they were working in the telecommunications industry. I can tell that Vanessa had a great heart; It was a privilege to meet lovely Vanessa as I knew she would take great care of Duane.

Duane was also intrigued with my history as I was a second generation student at California State University, Fresno from an immigrant family from Laos. I also volunteered at a hospice agency to assist with answering calls from clients/families and assisting with filing documents. He often would ask why I am in hospice as people were dying. My response was that people are dying, that’s why I am there. We continued to build a unique friendship and were interested in each other’s endeavors.

I told Duane that I met the love of my life, Casey and that we bought a home together. Of course, Duane said he wanted to check him out, make sure he was good for me. The three of us went out to dinner at this Peruvian restaurant called Limon. Duane grilled my boyfriend at the time, but sure enough, Duane enjoyed Casey’s company.

Duane talked about his love for successes. He taught me to save as much money as possible. He also shared insight on his views of real estate. Duane has taught me to think before reacting, or sometimes to also say what’s on my mind. He reassured me to be me. Duane would not judge me, but instead, share with me on ways to improve. He is such a great character.

Duane, thank you for always engaging and showing interest in my life; You have been an inspiration to me and I am thankful to call you my dear friend.

Ashley Chanthaphuang

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