A Simple Act of Kindness
Tom’s morning started like any other. The typical rat race to get himself and the kids out the door for work and school. Traffic had been a bear, so it had taken him ten minutes longer to get to the office then expected.
His boss would not be pleased.
He arrived at his office building only to find his parking space taken by an SUV. So large in-fact that he was certain the person never saw his “reserved” sign when they parked. This forced him out of the building’s garage and into the general building parking where the race was on to secure one of the last coveted spots. He could almost sense his boss peering at him as he raced up and down the parking lot, shaking his head and getting his “you are a loser speech” ready. Tom suspected he needn’t think too much about it as he delivered it so often that he outta have it memorized by now.
A Small Action
With a parking space secured he began the mad dash to the front of the building. Arriving at the front door as the sweat beads began to collect on his forehead. From behind him he heard a man’s voice, “Hold the door”. Tom stopped, took a frustrated breath and thought to himself why sure buddy, I’m not late enough already.
He waited as a man holding a big model came trudging up the walk way. Tom instantly became entranced by all the sparkly things that the man had displayed. “Wow, that’s something”. Tom said as he pulled the door open extra wide.
“It sure is. I was up all night working on it for a big client presentation. Thanks for holding the door. I was worried no one would be around to help me get in the building. You’re a life saver my friend”. Tom helped the man to his first floor office, then helped him through the door. The friendly man thanked Tom profusely as he turned on the lights.
Tom looked around the man’s office. The walls were all brightly colored and the look and feel of the entire place was so creative and cool. It made it hard to believe it was in the same building as his drab office. “Wow, this place is amazing! What do you do here if you don’t mind me asking,” Tom asked enthusiastically.
“If you have a minute, let me give you a tour,” the man said. Tom smiled and agreed, suddenly too lost in curiosity to worry about his boss’s anger at that point.
I could tell you so much more about Tom and the man, who’s name is George by the way, but suffice it to say, something happened that day. It didn’t strike Tom or George at the time, this mindless gesture of holding the door open. A gesture that at first seemed like a minor annoyance to Tom became a big help to George, and because of that one simple action a genuine connection was made. A connection that brought two men together that had seen each other in passing a thousand times but had never exchanged a word before. Not even a good morning.
Flash forward a few months. The connection between the two men grew, so much so that both recognized talents that the other possessed. Not only had a mutual respect for one another grown but a a collaborative thought-provoking relationship had started to take hold. Shared during those months were many ideas over coffee meetings, lunches and gobs of emails. Both men looked forward to seeing one another during the day and often met in the lobby of the building for quick little conversations.
Finally one day, after Tom had just shared a story of yet another one of his boss’s tirades, George suggested he leave that company and join his. Tom had secretly hoped that one day this opportunity might come to pass as he knew George’s company was more in line with what he really wanted to be doing as a career.
He realized now that everything happens for a reason. And that something as simple as holding a door open for a stranger just opened a bigger door for himself and his career. And he got a friend out of the deal too…a bonus by any measure!
Now opening a door might not make you the new CEO but I wouldn’t be surprised if you made some very real ripples or at-least some very nice smiles.