Thanksgiving was just days away.
On the front seat of my hard-working Honda was a neat stack of QuickBooks-generated invoices. They were ready for signatures as I delivered the days promised products to our clients and customers.
Carefully placed on the backseat and in the spacious car trunk sat the neatly organized cookie orders, reminding me of the logical pattern of bricks on a chimney. There were Kraft-colored boxes holding my companies signature cookies; hand decorated butter cookies this time shaped like turkeys, acorns, plump pumpkin and other green and mustard-yellow winter vegetables. Some of the cookies had been wrapped in crystal-clear cellophane bags with pretty ribbons while the brown boxes were closed with beige twine and stickered with Penny’s Pastries colorful polka-dot labels.
At a stoplight I quickly took a peek to the backseat to make certain my deliveries were not shifting in the city traffic. Afraid I’d stop short in mid-afternoon traffic or need to swerve slightly to miss a biker, I always carried extra product.
But on this day the backseat was in order.
As I once again turned my attention back to the traffic light something beautiful caught my eye. Across the busy street I saw a caregiver and a tiny blind child. The child in black sunglasses that seemed too large for his face awkwardly carried the traditional red-tipped and bright white cane of the blind.
I could see the caregiver gently talking to the young boy as she instructed him in the ways of crossing the busy urban street. It was as if I could feel in my body his trust in her and at the same time her acceptance of her awesome responsibility.
Something inside me whispered, “She is doing God’s work.”
As the light turned green I eased into the intersection and spontaneously pulled into the first parking place I saw. I turned off the motor and reached into the backseat, picking up one of the square cookie boxes.
By now the caregiver and boy had safely crossed the street. I greeted them, introduced myself and my company and offered them my gift of cookies. They accepted the cookie box with big grins and we wished each other well.
Even though I tell you this story with clarity it happened well over fifteen years ago. But its memory is crystal clear because on that day I incorporated a life lesson that has never left me.
Entrepreneurship can be isolating and extremely self-directed. With its challenges, it’s need for creative strategies, tactics and skillful negotiations it can certainly bring out the selfish side in all of us.
What I learned that day was my business could be a vehicle of kindness, compassion and caring.
And that I could create a business balanced between cash flow and caring for my community.