Categorized under: connections

A. Kim, Savor the Success, New York City – all that dread turned into something good

Last year, I was on the road 200 days as a touring concert pianist. Count ‘em. 200 days. It was enough to drive me crazy from all of the travel, delayed flights, and different hotel rooms every night.

So I decided to take a much-needed hiatus from the piano this year. However, my touring agency had to schedule two concerts this year due to scheduling conflicts from last year’s season. One of those “run-outs” was this past weekend in my home state of Iowa, forcing me out of piano hibernation. I was dreading it, but my annoying professional self would not allow me to cancel.

Everything went wrong from the beginning. LaGuardia was hectic, backed-up, and delayed. (No surprise there.) We were stuck on the runway for a good two hours. By the time I landed in freezing Iowa, it was 2:30 AM. I ran out to catch a cab, but I forgot that those don’t really exist there. How was I going to get to my hotel? There was no transportation in sight and the airport was closing down.

I asked a lady who was waiting for her ride where I could call to get a cab. She looked at me sympathetically and asked if I needed a ride to my hotel. I quietly thanked my guardian angel and hopped into the car with her.

The next day, back in the airport, Northworst announced that they were going to cancel the flight due to mechanical issues. I went to the booking desk, and they said that the next flight out was in eight hours. They asked if I had a car so I could drive to a surrounding airport to catch an earlier flight. Of course I didn’t.

Suddenly I heard my name, a tap on my shoulder. It was that same lady who gave me a ride to my hotel room! “Do you want a ride to the other airport? I’m going there and you can catch that next flight to Minneapolis.” It turns out that she was a Customer Service Supervisor from Northwest, and she would help me get to the airport on time and get on that flight.

In the car, I asked her how much I could pay her for the gas. She turned to me and said, “Honey, just pay it forward. I believe that you will remember this and pass on the goodness. Pay for a stranger’s dinner out of the blue. Fill up someone’s parking meter if it runs out. Do something kind and you’ll never know how you’ve affected that person’s life.”

So all that dread turned into something good. I was reminded of human kindness and how – in the midst of the craziness of my life back in New York City where I sometimes feel like flipping off the cab driver who gives me whiplash or yelling at the Chinese woman who pushes me out of the way so she can sit down – kindness still needs room in our lives.

As busy entrepreneurs, I think we all forget sometimes that there is a real human side to doing business. We all get caught up in our goals to climb and make forward motion that it’s easy to forget to take a step back, breathe, and do some good for someone.

Pay it forward, friends.

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