Serving Others- The Follow up to my Challenge
In yesterday’s post I offered a challenge to go out of you way and find 10 ways to serve someone else. I took the challenge and while doing so had several incredible experiences. Today I’d like share one of those experiences with you.
Yesterday I spent my day at the LifeVantage Convention in Phoenix, AZ. While I love spending time at these events due to the friendships that I have made and the contagious energy in the air, there is one area of an event like this that I struggle with greatly and that is the concept of open seating.
Let me explain. Open seating is when there are no assigned seats, first come, first served. While good in concept, I find it has the potential to bring out the worst in people. Some people will wake up hours before the event and rush over to the convention center to stand in line. These people will wait by a locked door until the corporate staff allows them into the event. The opening of doors is followed by repeated announcements to walk not run and that saving seats is prohibited. As people “speed walk” their way to the area of their choice there is much competition to get the best seats, usually as close to the stage as possible. Although saving seats is prohibited, it is a common practice. Sheets of paper are quickly placed on 1 -30 seats to save a place for all your friends. The practice is not the issue. In fact, I respect the people who wake up early and wait in line, they are truly serving others and I have been a benefactor of many a “saved” seat in my day.
Now that you have a little background, here is what happened yesterday.
I was standing near the front of the room when I heard a commotion to my left. I looked over and saw a man and a woman, whom I do not know, arguing profusely. A couple of seconds later I hear the woman call for one of the event coordinators, my former account manager Michael, to come over and resolve the situation. As the couple continued to argue over saved seats, I couldn’t help but notice how very different they were. He was a clean-cut middle-aged white man and she was a beautiful African-American woman who claimed to be in her 60’s. I could see that Michael had his hands full, so I decided to step in.
Upon entering the situation, I learned quickly that the man had saved the entire front two rows, about 30-40 seats. He was standing there alone and doing his best to make sure no one took one of the seats that he has reserved for his friends. She was very frustrated and couldn’t understand why he was unwilling to allow her to have 3 of the seats that he had saved up front. Trying to remedy to situation I asked them both to remember that we are all a family and that we should try to calmly work it out. To his credit, the man quickly relinquished three of the seats.
Once the woman took her seat I could see that she was still very “worked up”, so I sat next to her and got to know her better. It turns out that she didn’t just “want” to sit in the front row, she “had” to. She went on to explain that her vision is impaired and that sitting further back was not an option because she wouldn’t be able to see the event. As we talked, we discussed how important it was going to be for her to “let go” of the negative energy surrounding the mornings events so she would be able to enjoy the rest of her day. She agreed, we exchanged business cards and I went on my way.
Later that night I was sitting in the hotel lobby when she spots me out of the corner of her eye. She looks over, points at me and says, “you”! She walks over and proceeds to thank me and tell me “the rest of the story”. Apparently, later in the day she was seated in a smaller breakout session. Seats were going fast! Next to her remain two of the last seats in the room when she see the man that she was arguing with earlier that morning walk through the door. She makes eye contact with him and gestures for him to come over and sit next to her. That karmic act of kindness changed everything. In her own words, they are now “best of friends” . They exchanged contact info and plan on staying in touch! WOW! She thanked me for all my help and went on her way.
To say that her story made my day would be an understatement! What a difference a small gesture can make.
If you took my challenge yesterday and have a story of your own, please post it in the comments below. Have a great day!