I consider myself a trusting person (maybe too trusting sometimes in a city like Calgary). What can I say? I was raised in Regina in a neighborhood where no one ever locked their doors, we played games in the street from morning until dark and I was never afraid to walk home alone after sunset. I am a firm believer in trusting people and believing in the good in people until they break that trust – if you can’t believe in the innate good of people, what faith is there left in the world? This is a firm belief I hold in my personal life as well as my business practices. However, that trust and faith was broken this week when I entered a Starbucks to meet a colleague for coffee.
With my big bag slung over my shoulder, I pushed through the doors of Starbucks and proceeded to the only free table. My bag is with me everywhere I go – it contains all my worldly possessions I need to conduct my business every day: my wallet (which contains ALL my ID), tablet or laptop, cell phone, a few odd file folders, car keys, etc. If any one of these items went missing, I would go slightly bonkers. In the crowded Starbucks my table was situated next to a gentleman reading his paper and enjoying a coffee. This was not an ideal spot but given it was the only space available and my colleague had not shown up yet, I snagged it. I placed my bag on it to save it as I have done 1000 times before then proceeded to get a coffee. I know many of you forsee where this is going but to me, this simple act was as routine as breathing.
Just as I turned back to grab my wallet, the gentleman who was sitting next to me stood up and hastily asked if someone had just taken one of my belongings off my table. I was dumbfounded, too caught up in my own head to really register what was going on. I quickly started searching my bag – cell phone, check, tablet check, wallet, check, car keys….no car keys. As I looked up to say my keys are missing, the gentleman bolted out of the coffee shop, shouting to me to call 911. Little did I know, the gentleman was an un-uniformed police officer named Mike on his coffee break. I grabbed my phone, scrambling to call 911, and raced out after him.
As I was calling 911, I saw my car lights flashing on and off as they do when someone is hitting the unlock/lock function on my car alarm. The thief was testing out my key remote to see which vehicle was mine, but he was not fast enough for my un-uniformed hero. He caught sight of us and knew he was caught in the act. Unfortunately, he bolted down the street, getting a good lead on Mike. He ended up losing the thief in the crowd but he called it in to get back up to help track down the thief and my keys.
In the end, the thief got away with my keys but did not get access to my vehicle. I was relieved to say the least – the thief did not get my vehicle or any of my personal information within it, and I am still counting my lucky stars. He had my house key but no address. I thanked every deity I could think of.
However, had Mike, my hero from Calgary’s wonderful police force, not been there, I would be without a vehicle, a baby seat, and all my home and personal information would be in the hands of a common thief.
This situation sucked but got me thinking about coincidences – I don’t believe in them! I don’t believe Mike just happened to be sitting next to me. I also believe that all of my encounters in business are more than coincidences. Had I not been laid off four years ago, I would not have had the courage to start a business, and I would probably still be working there! Had the CEO of that company not sent my resume out to all of his business friends, I would not have met my first amazing client. While I may (or may not) have found another client, I am so grateful I made this first valuable connection, because they are truly amazing to work with and set me on a path to similar clients. Had themarketinggirl.com URL not been available and suggested to me by GoDaddy, I would probably not be The Marketing Girl.
What Lesson Did I Learn?
I learned a few valuable lessons from this jarring experience:
- Never leave things on Starbucks tables unattended.
- Go to coffee shops police officers frequent.
- Do not put house keys with my car keys or keep any personal information in my car.
- Value every encounter in business, because they guide you on the path you are meant to be on.
- Coincidences don’t exist – they are things that happen for a reason so be receptive of that. Embrace and capitalize on the opportunity presented in front of you.