Holidays … family, gifts, sharing … drama, chaos, angst. And in the midst of it all, finding those opportunities that create memorable moments.
This holiday break, my son-in-law, Derek, braved a day trip with me to NYC along with my 10 year old son Chaz, and my nephews, Evan and Jake, who are 10 and 12, respectively. If you’ve ever ventured into the city with three “tween” boys, you know an adventure awaits … you’re just not sure where it’s going to turn up.
The day was planned as a shopping spree in NY, where they would each pick their favorite store and then share in the commercialization of the season, spending their holiday gift money in packed stores embellished with elaborate holiday window displays, while being pushed in through cramped aisles after waiting in line half an hour to get into the store in the first place (it actually was really fun and part of the experience.) Scheduled stops included the NBA and Lego stores, FAO Schwarz, and the Tree at Rockefeller Center (for unscheduled bathroom breaks and hot chocolate!)
During our last stop at FAO Schwarz, Jake turned to me and asked if he could spend the “extra $20” he got at the NBA Store. Logical question … “What extra $20?”, to which he explained the clerk had made an error in his favor when he purchased his orange Knicks basketball jersey. Instead of $40 in change, he was given $60. Knowing that Jake has a reputation for exaggerating a bit, I took the liberty of opening his blue Velcro wallet and found that, in fact, he did have an extra $20.
Before I could say anything, Chaz said, “We need to go back to the NBA Store and give it back.” Not surprising, Jake said, “No. The guy made a mistake and I’m going to keep the $20.”
As we started our two mile walk back to the car, chilled under a sky of falling snow (not to mention the soaked shoes and jeans), Jake got a rendition of “the world according to Chaz” … “If you don’t give it back, karma will come into play, and something bad will happen to you.”
Seeing the sheer panic on Jake’s face (and trying hard to avoid a trip back to the NBA store), Derek brilliantly noted that you can give the $20 to charity, which would be just as good as giving it back to the store.
“Do you really think so?” asked Jake. “Yeah”, said Derek. “Or you can buy that poor woman a sweatshirt” pointing to the frail lady sitting by the golden facade of the Trump building, shivering under a thin white blanket.
With renewed excited and a mission in play, we J-walked across Fifth Avenue and straight into the Gap store. Finding the perfect $20 neon green hoodie that symbolized the transformation that spring will shortly bring to us all, we walked up to the cash register to pay. “That will be $14.99”. The clerk might as well have told Jake he just won the lottery. “It’s only $14.99! Can I keep the extra $5 bucks?”
“Of course you can. Do you see how things play out? You did something amazing for that poor lady and you still wound up $5 bucks ahead.”
At that, we wrapped up the hoodie in the blue plastic Gap bag and ventured back into the cold, wet evening, back across Fifth Avenue, this time with a bright white star ornament hanging several stories above us. Jake approached the woman who appreciatively accepted the sweatshirt (and the plastic Gap bag!) and then we continued our journey back to our car, knowing that we made a difference for one person in a city of millions. As we continued to walk, I realized how incredibly proud I was of them and knew that we created a memorable moment that all of us will keep for years to come.
So as you venture through your days, look for those opportunities to create memorable moments. They’re there for the taking.
And that’s just my two cents (for whatever it’s worth!)Tweet