The sun is bouncing off the windows of downtown buildings. Your company’s banners are snapping in a light breeze. A massive crowd is barricaded behind supersized hay bales, forming a prickly necklace down a wide sloping avenue. The fans erupt in cheers, propelling every derby car on its gravity passage to the finish line.
Everyone is having a grand time and you did it.
Your business won approval from the city, recruited volunteers, encouraged employees, enlisted additional sponsors, procured prizes, and purchased advertising. You found vendors and filled quiet streets with crowds. Wow! Call it a success? You want to. But this one guy dropped a screaming F-bomb and launched a bird from his fist E-V-E-R-Y T-I-M-E your company truck and trailer drove by to gather racers and return them uphill to the starting line. He’s a downer. Time to engage.
“What’s the problem? Do you have a complaint? Please don’t swear around all these kids.”
“Don’t mess with my first amendment rights.”
“Ah, that’s not the issue here.”
“Hey man, **** you.”
Huh. Did this guy work for you once? An unhappy customer? Does he loathe gravity propulsion? You’re not trained for PSYCHO-analysis. Your arm hairs are dancing.
During the post-awards cleanup, a customer taps you on the shoulder, “Hey, just wanted to let you know, I really loved the day. Great fun. It’s times like this… you know, the community gathering here… it’s why we buy your tires and bring our cars to you. You do stuff like this. Thanks.”
Wow! You don’t hear that all the time. Okay, is that why you do it? There are lots of reasons really. You like doing it. It’s who you are. You’re a car guy. You like seeing adults having fun like kids. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Is it worth it? Does it help the bottom line? Is that customer a unicorn? Well… A LOT of people seemed to have a lot of fun.
Highlighting the pros/cons of organizing or even sponsoring events isn’t the purpose of this story. This is a true-story-people-lesson.
Certain people are fools. Many more are gracious.
A few even give you face-to-face five-star reviews. When you’re doing the right thing, you probably know it in your heart, your gut, your mind, and in the little hairs dancing on the back of your neck.
Forget the fools. Keep reaching for the stars.
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