Once in a blue moon, things work out better than I had ever hoped they would. I will refer to these events as serendipities. My dear sister-in-law, Jeanette, and I were recipients of a serendipitous surprise last year when we were celebrating her birthday at a lovely beachfront restaurant. In the middle of our fantastic lunch, our server approached me to ask whether I drink alcohol (due to the fact I was drinking water). I thought it was a strange question to be asked until I turned around to see her smilingly holding a tray with 2 pina coladas on it. I quickly said “Yes!” and she explained that these frosty beverages had been made by accident and would be thrown away if no one wanted them. Jeanette and I gladly took the drinks and her birthday lunch instantly became a tropical fiesta! One of my favorite times of serendipity involved another lovely beachfront restaurant where David and I took his mother, Carole, to celebrate her birthday many years ago. David informed the server that it was his mother’s birthday and he ordered a birthday cake and sparkler for our celebration. I have witnessed many birthday celebrations in restaurants, but this was the only time I have ever heard and seen everyone in the restaurant sing, applaud, and cheer for the person celebrating a birthday. Not only did all of the servers and David and I sing the birthday song, but every person inside the restaurant joined in! Carole was slightly embarrassed, however, this event became something we talked about for many years to come. I also had 2 serendipitous experiences involving rental cars. I have rented countless cars in my frequent travels and it is usually a rather ho hum experience. However, on 2 occasions, I got lucky. The first was the time David and I rented a car to drive to Key West, where we were working for an extended period of time. My dear cat, Ziggy, was old and recovering from a stroke, and we were driving with him to a cat friendly hotel. The rental car company didn’t have the car we reserved, but they gave me a double upgrade, resulting in a purple “Catillac,” where Ziggy took the final trip of his life in style. My other fun rental car experience occurred in Las Vegas, when I was informed that, not only was the rental car I reserved not available, there were no upgrades or double upgrades available either. This situation resulted in me being given a triple upgrade to another Cadillac, this one, with only 9 miles on the odometer and a temporary paper tag. Never has a new car smelled so good! Once in a while, things do work out better than I planned!
I’ve been reading a series of books by Michael Reisig, titled Road to Key West. They are “light reading” about treasure hunting, set in the Florida Keys and in Central and South America; nothing heavy, just fun. Anyway, there is a recurring line in the books “Sometimes the Gods, they get bored and they throw you a bone.” It’s nice to catch a bone like these once in a while. Things that might also be called lagniappe – a little bonus, or something extra – things that go beyond “common courtesy.” The fact that this is rare is why it sticks out in memory. And, it sure brings smiles when it happens. I can think of a few others – like hotel room upgrades not requested but instead offered. These small acts of kindness certainly create good will. As business owners, we try to keep this in mind and provide a few bits of lagniappe ourselves – branded items of course. Small gifts for the client, and the clients’ support team, have always been a part of our plan. Little things often make a big difference in making a positive impression, at least that is the theory on which we operate. And, the “Catillac,” in all of its purple splendor, created a wonderful memory for us of Ziggy’s last vacation. (He was fairly well traveled, staying in hotels and resorts in many cities.) But only once traveling in a purple “Catillac”!