Tom McMahon seems like just another white-collar professional in the Lake Norman area.
Some details of his life aren't surprising: The 47-year-old lives in Monterrey Landing in Mooresville and has been married to his wife, Rosalind, for 24 years. They have four children.
McMahon owns Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate in Cornelius.
McMahon believes his life would have turned out differently - for the worse - if it weren't for his Big Brother, Bob.
It's because of this relationship he has found the time to be a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte.
McMahon grew up in the rough, blue-collar neighborhoods of south Buffalo, N.Y. He got into fights, tried drugs and even started smoking before second grade.
McMahon describes his younger self as high-strung and constantly in trouble. His parents didn't know how to deal with him and believed he was uncontrollable.
"I was too much of a punk. I can't imagine what my parents went through," said McMahon.
His future wasn't looking very bright as he entered high school.
Fortunately for McMahon, Burgard Vocational High School is where he met his math teacher, Robert Moss.
Known as "Bob" to everybody, Moss would become more than just a math teacher to McMahon - he would become his mentor, friend and Big Brother.
"Bob took an interest in me as a punk young kid," said McMahon. "He saw something, but he knew I had issues."
Moss ran the Be A Friend program in Buffalo that eventually became part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nationwide organization that helps youths by matching them with a mentor. When McMahon came into his class, Moss knew McMahon needed to be constantly occupied. Once under his mentor's wing, McMahon got the chance for new experiences.
One such experience was at a local TGI Friday's.
Moss one day took a very hesitant McMahon into the restaurant. McMahon simply didn't want to go inside the building.
It's a small thing to most of us to enter a TGI Friday's, but McMahon describes it as "one of the most impactful things" on his early life. It showed him there was a larger world with greater possibilities beyond his neighborhood.
Through Moss' guidance, McMahon started to succeed. Previously a poor student, McMahon began to thrive at Burgard and graduated second in his class.
"When I look back at it all, he was a master" at motivating me, said McMahon.
After McMahon moved from Buffalo with his wife, he kept close contact with Moss and his family, visiting a couple times a year.
Moss died in August of a heart attack on a family outing. About the same time, McMahon was leaving a note on Moss' doorhoping to schedule a visit.
After speaking at the funeral, and re-examining the impact Moss had on his life, McMahon wondered why he wasn't a Big Brother.
"I asked myself, what am I waiting for? I always thought that I don't have enough time, and that I need to be focusing (only) on my kids. I was wrong," said McMahon.
McMahon approached the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in Charlotte and was paired-up with 10-year-old Lucian from Cornelius.
"Lucian is a wonderful boy who I am so happy to ... make an impact in his life," said McMahon.
Taking what he learned from Moss, McMahon tries hard to be a part of Lucian's life. They participate in fun activities like go-kart racing or going to football games.
McMahon also tries to teach Lucian responsibility, through projects like showing him how to help around the house, fixing-up his mother's yard.
In addition, McMahon learned that his children - Morgan, 17, and triplets Madison, T.J. and Aubry, 16 - are a help to his Little Brother Lucian.
McMahon sees Lucian about once a week. .
Often McMahon tries to have some one-on-one time, "to see what's going on in his head and see if there's anything he wants to talk about."
"My hopes are that, as he's a teenager, he'll have somebody to call when he has challenges. A guy to talk to," said McMahon. "I hope to be a bigger and good influence in his life and make a difference."