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Recently I took my nine year old daughter and a carload of her friends to our town’s Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival for an evening of ferris wheels, funnel cakes, and laughter–of course! It was a Friday night after a long week. Truly, I would have benefited from a simple dinner at home to unwind from the week. Sound familiar? However, I intuitively knew that the laughter of those children was most important and desperately needed…so off we went.
As the girls were getting out of the car, they caught sight of the ferris wheel in the distance and the excitement erupted into chaotic squeals, giggles and laughter. I found myself feeling a bit nervous for their safety as the other cars were moving in and out of the parking spaces nearby. I regained their attention and reminded them that they promised me to apply the buddy system to keep safe. All was well…
In typical fashion, the Fireman’s Carnival delivered all that was anticipated. It rained all week, so the grounds were like a mud filled sponge and no amount of hay can fix that. It always rains during the week the carnival comes to our town. The children never take notice of the condition of their shoes. It is all about the laughter.
When I was nine, I loved carnival rides too. Another mother and I were lamenting the fact that somewhere between the age of 21 and childbirth the ferris wheel went from thrilling to terrifying. How does that happen? I think it is just about the same time that we adults forget how to laugh. And I believe entrepreneurs need more laughter in their lives.
Among my successful Entrepreneur clients, I observe that they know how to keep all of their troubles in perspective. Simply put, they have not forgotten how to laugh! And given the times we live in, they have been laughing a lot! Don’t get me wrong, they do not disregard reality or not take their business or life seriously. They keep perspective and know the value of childlike laughter!
After an evening of laughter, it was time to return home with our funnel cakes “to go”. Dad and big brother were waiting for them. As we returned to our car, we found ourselves “in trouble”. No, I am not kidding. As we approached my car, a Policeman asked me if I was Holly Magister and if that was my car? Never a good question when posed by a Police Officer! His cruiser cornered me and his spotlight was squarely on me! “Yes, officer. What is wrong?” I replied. My panic-struck heart was pounding and my nine year old began to cry.
Truly, my first thought was that someone died and they were trying to find me to deliver the news. What else could it be? My daughter thought I was going away in handcuffs forever because that is what she sees on TV. She never saw a Police Officer that close before–one that knew my name. They were hunting down my mom!
The Officer told me that “the white SUV next to me suffered a “door ding” and he was there to investigate the accident.” “Is this truly necessary?” I asked the young man who was standing next to his prized mode of transportation. (Okay, if you have read my earlier blogs, you know that I ask this question a lot!) With no reply to my question, I asked it another way… “Did you have to call the Police?”
It turns out that the nine year old’s chorus of squeals, giggles and laughter muffled the sound of the “door ding” that the neighboring SUV suffered several hours earlier. And the young man felt that he needed the protection of the Police to make certain that justice would be served. This young man discovered his “door ding” and decided to wait for me to return to my car. He waited more than two and one half hours!
The Police Officer informed me that it was his “job to determine if the door ding was inflicted with malicious intent or by accident.” I replied, “I do not know any nine year old that would have malicious intent of any kind and I am grateful for that!” He was not pleased with my reply and further informed me that he “did not want this to get ugly”. Regardless of the absurd situation, I decided to save my sharp tongue and sarcastic sense of humor so the Officer did not feel compelled to take me away! Besides, the funnel cakes were getting cold.
Today, I learned that the body shop did not consider the SUV’s injury to be a “door ding”, instead it was a “paint transfer”. And it would take only $554.73 to make it go away!
The white paint from the SUV that was “transferred” onto my blue car was undetectable after a $6.00 wishy-wash at the gas station. What a bargain! But here is the best part…after my car was washed, the shine revealed no less than 11 “door dings”. Real ones!
As I share this story with you, and more recently my family, I am reminded of the numerous “door dings” we endure as Entrepreneurs, parents, and humans for that matter! And I believe that it is the endurance and perspective gained along the way, not the removal of the door dings, that make the difference! To know that the door ding the white SUV suffered was because of a child’s excitement and laughter put a smile on my face. Are you smiling?
As for my door dings, all eleven of them, they are not going away! They serve to remind me daily what really matters… endure, keep perspective and remember to laugh every chance you have!