by Tracy Butz, CSP | Speaker, Author, Consultant
Years ago I attended an out-of-state educational venue where the attendees were given an odd assignment. We each were handed a crisp twenty dollar bill, were told to buy someone lunch, and then report back about our experience—all within 60 minutes. That doesn’t seem like too tough of an exercise, right?
Because I was unaware of my surroundings, I quickly found a bystander who pointed me in the direction of the closest restaurant. As I sprinted in that direction, I spotted a couple reviewing the menu outside one establishment, approached them, and the man—without hesitation—said that they didn’t want to eat there after all and walked away with strange looks on their faces. Clearly they thought I had an ulterior motive.
Knowing I had chewed up 14 of my 60 minutes already—running to the dining district and being abruptly rejected as if offering to buy lunch was a crime—I noticed a Hard Rock Café at the end of the block which not only had outdoor seating, but conveniently there were three women all looking at menus. They likely hadn’t ordered yet, so I was in luck.
I asked the waitress to seat me outside and near that group of women. I began by striking up easy conversation and asking a few questions to each of them. Because another seven minutes had passed, I decided to share my lunchtime task. Two ladies were thrilled about getting a free lunch and the third woman was very cautious (which I can hardly blame her for).
That lunch experience was one of the richest dining experiences of my life. I met three wonderful women, also there attending a different conference, who were very appreciative and also overwhelmingly surprised by the gesture. I did pay for lunch, but it wasn’t $20. The bill, with tip, came to $80. When I realized that one of the girls also had a birthday coming up, I proceeded to give the waitress another $10 and asked that she bring her whatever dessert she wanted.
After singing “happy birthday” and embracing each as I left, I held onto my barely eaten sandwich as I raced to beat the clock—dashing seven blocks and collapsing with just under two minutes to spare. What an incredible story I shared and an amazing encounter I experienced. The lunch cost: $90. The running shoes I chose to buy later that evening because of my aching feet from running in heels: $73. The incredible experience I had with three fun and inspirational women: priceless.
So when was the last time you did something wildly outside of your comfort zone and the imprint it left on your heart and mind would never be forgotten? Nine years have passed and this treasured experience is etched in my memory as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. Don’t let incredible opportunities to engage life pass you by. Truly live it.
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Tracy Butz is an inspirational speaker, captivating author and successful consultant. She has 20+ years of experience engaging audiences like the US Army, Motorola, and Subway. Tracy holds the Certified Speaking Professional™ designation, the highest honor in her profession, held by only 12 percent of speakers worldwide.