It was lucky Trevor Saunders arrived at the restaurant before me, because he pulled off a move I would never have been able to achieve.

Trevor, the 238th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, was told he’d have to sit at the bar because there were no more tables available. But Trevor, being Trevor, had been joking around and building rapport with the staff at the front of house, so when he asked if they couldn’t find a table for him after all, one was magically produced.

One thing I quickly learned about Trevor is that he really enjoys people, he has an infectious personality and he’s adept at reading people’s non-verbal communication.

Perhaps those people skills come from Trevor’s childhood – his dad was in the air force, which meant he kept moving from place to place and had to keep making new friends.

Perhaps they come from Trevor’s university days, when he got a job at one of the first McDonald’s restaurants in Australia and learned the art of customer service.

Or perhaps those people skills come from Trevor’s love of competition poker, which forces him to pay close attention to his rivals’ body language.

Trevor has had a magnificent career. He enjoyed his job flipping burgers so much that he quit his uni degree to work full-time at McDonald’s, where he climbed the corporate ranks. Later, he held senior roles at Blockbuster and Virgin Mobile, and also served as president of the Australian Franchisee Association. These days, he does consulting.

But I found Trevor’s mindset even more impressive. He’s had to deal with regular health problems over the past 35 years, including two kidney transplants, a heart attack, numerous cancers and countless surgeries. Each day, he has to take 17 pills just to keep functioning. Many people in Trevor’s position would’ve embraced self-pity or settled for mediocrity. But he’s relentlessly positive – he makes a point of looking for happiness every day – and has achieved so much in his life.

I felt lucky being able to have lunch with someone of Trevor’s calibre, and am glad I can now count him as a friend.