Being Careless with a Crocodile Changed Ron Magill’s Life for the Better

Being Careless with a Crocodile Changed Ron Magill’s Life for the Better


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for this BONUS episode of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Ron Magill, the communications director for the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens (or Zoo Miami) — he’s a zoologist and his “favorite mistake” story is one that only a zoologist could tell.

I recently did another bonus episode with five personalities from the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Ron is a weekly guest each Tuesday on their show. For that original bonus episode, I encouraged people to make donations to the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment, as I did. I hope you'll consider doing the same and it's a great cause.


Today, Ron shares a story about how being young and cocky and careless with a crocodile managed was a “favorite mistake” because it happened for a reason… and it made his life better!

I was able to get this story via the Cameo app and you can also buy a personalized message from him there, if you like.

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of Ron's story
  • How to subscribe or follow
  • Full transcript

You can listen to or watch the first part of the episode below. A transcript also follows lower on this page. Please subscribe, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser! You can now sign up to get new episodes via email, to make sure you don't miss an episode. This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network.

Watch Ron's “Favorite Mistake” Story

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (1s):
Hi, it's Mark Graban. Welcome to a bonus episode of My Favorite Mistake. It's a short but special episode where we're going to hear from Ron Magill. He's the communications director for the Miami Dade Zoological Park and Gardens. He's a zoologist and his favorite mistake story is one that only a zoologist could tell. Now, I recently did another bonus episode that had five of the personalities from the Dan Le Batard show with Stugotz. You can find a link to that in the show notes. Well, Ron is a weekly guest on their show each Tuesday. And for that original bonus episode, I encourage people to do as I did, to make donations to the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment.

Mark Graban (42s):
If you're listening to this, I hope you'll consider doing the same. You can learn more, you can find a link for donating at His last name is spelled M A G I L L. Thanks. Here's Ron.

Ron Magill (56s):
Hey Mark. Ron Magill here, the animal guy from the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Hey, first and foremost, I want to thank you for doing your podcast and doing it with the five guys from the show and helping to share their favorite mistakes to raise money for my conservation fund. That's appreciated a lot more than you could possibly know, man. So thank you for doing that. Now, as far as hearing about my favorite mistake during my career, it's actually pretty easy for those who know me. It's about 33 years ago, I was moving some crocodiles and you know, 30 years ago it was a lot younger than I am now. A young guy is a little cocky, probably a little too sure of himself thinking you're immortal. And as young guys tend to do, sometimes they do things that aren't too smart. I got a little careless and to make a long story short, I got bitten pretty badly in my right hand by a crocodile.

Ron Magill (1m 39s):
I was lucky to have a bunch of guys with me. So they were able to jump on that crocodile right away to stop it from jerking. I sat back and forth and literally ripping my hand off. We had to put a shovel in his mouth so that I could pry his mouth open because we didn't have the strength open it this way. You had to put a shovel in there. And I pulled my hand out. I remember seeing the open wounds, the bones. It was, it was a nasty thing. So I had to go right to the hospital. Of course, emergency room doctor looks at me in emergency room — Ah, you got to go to surgery. So I go to surgery, hand surgeon comes in, basically kind of puts my hand back together and I'm thinking to myself, oh, this sucks. I mean, you know, it was a nasty injury is my right hand, which I'm a right-handed person writing hand and stuff. I couldn't write, I couldn't do anything. It was really terrible. I mean, what could, you know, what could be the reason for this as I'm thinking to myself?

Ron Magill (2m 24s):
So a couple of days in the hospital, I'm in there. And then all of a sudden I've got to go down to physical therapy and they bring me down to the physical therapy suite. And all of a sudden the door opens. And my therapist from the therapist team walks in mark is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life. I mean, I got scared in the beginning. I thought maybe I'd died because she's like a flipping angel. I don't know if you've ever looked at somebody. And when you see them, all of a sudden you don't hear or see anything except their face. And all you hear is like [singing], it was like an epiphany. Anyway, she came over to me, she held my hand. She goes, hi, I'm going to be part of your therapy team. And I was like, thank you, God.

Ron Magill (3m 6s):
She would move my hand. They would hurt like hell. And she said, is that hurting? I'd go. No, because I didn't want to let go of my hand. This was like the greatest thing ever make a long story short, Mark, a year later. I married her. After 32 years of marriage, two grown kids. I'm married to the love of my life. I would never have met had it not been for that favorite mistake of messing with the crocodiles. So there you have it, buddy. Thanks again for the support of the Le Batard show. You're supportive of my Conservation Endowment. I hope you have a great, great weekend and enjoy, keep on doing what you're doing. And again, thanks for being a fan. Take care, buddy.

Mark Graban (3m 41s):
Well, again, a huge thanks to Ron Magill for sharing his story. It was a personally, it was a treat to get that message back from him via the Cameo app, where you can find Ron and others from the Le Batard and Friends family if you want to get a customized personal message from them. If you would like to consider making a donation to the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment, you can find a link for that at mark, or you can just do a Google search for that or find it through the Zoo Miami webpage. So thank you for listening. I hope you'll consider subscribing or following, checking out other episodes in the My Favorite Mistake podcast.

Mark Graban (4m 23s):
Thanks for listening. I'm going to quit stumbling and making mistakes. And as they say on the show leaking confidence, I'll just say, thanks again.

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.