LIAM 011 – An Unplanned Night in Chicago; The Butterfly Effect of Generosity

In this episode of the Life Is A Marathon show, I talk about how a missed connection in Chicago forced me to spend a night in a hotel, which led me to doing a not-so-random act of kindness, which produced a completely unexpected result–the Butterfly Effect. This story illustrates how we should always have an open mind to the events in our lives and try to find meaning in them. We should be ever vigilant for opportunities to help strangers, but we should also understand that kindness radiates out and touches people in unexpected ways!

Show outline:
  1. I had been in Denver and was traveling back home to Richmond.
    1. I knew I had a 3-hour layover in Chicago and had made plans to have  dinner with a good friend.
    2. My flight out of Denver got delayed, which frustrated me because I was really looking forward to dinner.
    3. My flight was delayed even more so I knew I would miss my connection  to Richmond
    4. It was around 11:30pm when I arrived in Chicago
    5. I took a shuttle to the hotel. It was cold, windy night with a mix of snow and sleet that pelted my face as I dashed from the shuttle to the hotel lobby, where the line to check in was almost out the door.
    6. Front-desk clerk was being rude to a young woman whose credit card was declined
    7. I checked into my room, but couldn’t get the thought of the woman out of my mind
    8. I returned to the now empty lobby to find her sitting on a bench crying
    9. I paid for her room
    10. Thinking that was the reason for my changed plans, I slept well until morning.
    11. At checkout, the same clerk was there
      1. He told me how amazed he was by my generosity
      2. Convinced I had helped the girl and that was the reason for my delay, I told him that there are no accidents in life and that God causes our paths to cross with people for a purpose
      3. He stared for a moment and said “I will think about what you have said. For a very long time”
    12. It was then that I realized it wasn’t the girl I had helped the most. It was the clerk.
  2. We need to be open-minded about the frustrating changes to our plans
  3. Shift your perspective to be looking for a new opportunity
  4. We need to be looking for the potential meaning, or what we can learn from and use to grow out of each situation
  5. We need to keep our eyes open for opportunities to help people
  6. We need to realize that we never help just one person
    1. We benefit from generosity ourselves–personal growth
    2. Generosity creates a “butterfly effect” that touches lives in ways we can never imagine.

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