I had a job that was a combination of administrator, project coordinator, volunteer coordinator, coach, cook and errand-runner. It was a small family run business, so all 9 employees wore many hats. The company had offices in both Marin, California and Paris, France, therefore one frequent errand I had was to pick up and drop off visitors and staff at the airport. This was in the late 90’s so traffic in the Bay Area wasn’t as bad as it is today, but it still took much-needed time out of my already overloaded workday.
On one of these occasions, my manager told me that I had to take my Parisian counterpart, Hillary, to the airport the next day. I didn’t know her well, but I loved her energy. It seemed like when she was here from Paris, the office was a nicer place to be.
Still, I was pissed that I had to take a couple of hours out of my already super busy schedule – I mean, why couldn’t she just take the Marin airporter to the airport? If the situation were reversed, I’d have to?! But I didn’t dare ask my boss. I already knew what he’d say: a big fat NO. And on top of it, he’d probably use the opportunity to remind me that my attitude sucked. And he’d be right!
So, the next morning while driving to work from San Francisco (where I lived at the time), I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I was going to have to do this whole commute in reverse just to get Hillary to the airport – I mean, what a total waste of my time! I’ll never be appreciated for my true talents at this job. I’ll always be the employee who has to do crappy errands. I couldn’t let it go. By the time I reached the offramp to San Rafael, I had talked myself into a frenzy- it felt like my head was going to explode!
Rounding the corner to the home-office, an enormous rose bush catches my eye. I drive by here every day, sometimes more than twice a day, and have never noticed it before. How is that possible?
I pull over, put the car in park and pluck a few of the brightest pink-orange blossoms before getting back into the car. Pulling into the driveway I sit for a minute bewildered…I feel really good all of sudden.
If I have to do this, I’m gunna make it count. You have a job to do, I say, looking over at the stack of rose buds, as if they’re going to talk back to me. A moment later petals cover the passenger seat.
Later that morning, Hillary opens the car door to get in but stops midway. “How beautiful!” she beams. Brushing the petals aside before getting in she leans over and gives me a hug. “I know that it’s a drag to have to take me to the airport. I’m having a rough time taking care of things in Paris right now and it makes a big difference. Thank you.”
“It’s the least I can do,” I say, so glad that I did this tiny thing.
We made it to the airport faster than expected, chattering the whole time. It would be the first of many conversations. We became the best of friends.