I know we’ve all been there at one time in life or another – where the very thing you need to happen just isn’t coming soon enough and your heart is waging the war between what is on it’s way and what reality has to offer right now. Truly, I think this is one of our most significant life moments. This is where you show what you’re really made of. This is The Big Test. This is the point where you make an inward decision to muster up every ounce of courage inside of you and rally the troops to victory, or raise the white flag of surrender and concede in absolute and utter defeat…folding to the pressure of not yet realizing what is yet to come.
It happens to all of us in a myriad of different ways, but this particular test on this particular day for my husband and me was a simple financial one. It went something like this: paycheck equals “X” amount of dollars…bills equal “X” amount of dollars…and Column A minus Column B left us nothing but the anxiety of holding our breath until the next payday. Sound familiar?
Our hearts were weary from having been in this position one too many times before, and quite frankly our spirits were crushed and we were just downright fed up.
So my husband came up with the greatest idea: let’s comb the entire house for all of the loose change we could find, and go buy one of those cheapy take-out pizzas. Simple enough in strategy, but its effect on our mindset was nothing but profound.
We felt like college kids all over again. We started shouting through the house as we discovered unexpected treasure. We even turned it into a competition to see who could scavenge for the most money. By the end of our adventure, we’d scrounged up just enough to make our typical purchase of a pepperoni pizza, breadsticks, and buffalo ranch dipping sauce (for me…’cuz I’m the princess). We loaded up into the car, black labs and all, and laughed the entire way to the pizza shop.
So, with the confidence of a “hunter” (insert Neanderthal man noises here) my husband stepped up to the counter, emptied his pockets of every silver coin he had on him, and boldy stated, “I’ve got $6.35 to work with, what’ll that buy us?”
Having already keyed in our “usual” purchase, the manager made another entry that brought the price down lower than “usual”. And he gave us TWO marinara sauces…and TWO buffalo ranch sauces…and the freshest pizza and breadsticks he had on hand.
You see, he wasn’t responding to the sale, he was responding to the need. In one tiny transaction that would barely make a dent in his sales totals for the day, he made an impact on our hearts that turned a miserable situation into something not only bearable but delightful. With a few strokes of the register keys, he made us feel human again. And probably not even having a full grasp of his action’s impact on us, he restored our joy and completely transformed how we felt about our situation.
In monetary terms, it cost him very little…but the emotional pay off was priceless. He saw an opportunity to “Pay it Forward”…and in a very tangible way, he made it happen. He saw through the transaction and responded to the need.
Truth be told, I think I saw my husband skip to the car to deliver the good news.
The question is this: Are you doing life one transaction at a time…focused on the payout at the end of all your interactions and hard work? Or are you moving beyond the ins and outs of everyday negotiations and responding to people’s real needs? (What’s funny is that in the end, it seems to be the simplest things that have the biggest impact.)
Oh, and to answer my husband’s question, I’ll give you an answer born out of actual life experience: six dollars and thirty-five cents buys a lifetime of loyalty and repeat business…when you move with compassion and throw in a little mercy on the side!