If you live in a city which the tourists visit regularly you will probably relate to this situation: individuals or small groups staring into their folded maps, checking the bus stops or trying to decifer the Underground charts.
Most of us don’t pay much attention to them, since we’re rushing somewhere or think they will figure their way around or…its simply not our business.
Not only does it improve the tourist’s experience of our city (which means they will probably suggest their friends to come over and visit…hence starting a virtuous circle) but most importantly…
When you’re helping people, you’re opening up yourself for opportunities, usually unforseen.
Let me share an experience.
Some years ago I was taking a train within Barcelona from work to my Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree. June, nice weather, finally Friday and simply staring through the window.
A couple of seats away, this young guy was studying his map…and from the look of his face he wasn’t happy.
Knowing the final station was approaching and commute from there is pretty bad, I walked up to him as asked if I could help. At first he refused politely but when he saw my big smile and that the offer was honest…he confessed: he knew how to get to the place but had plenty of time and wanted to enjoy a walk.
To keep it short, I offered he walked with me a bit and from where I left him he would have a straight easy path along one of the best beaches in Barcelona:
Along the 20 minute walk we shared about job market in Europe (him being German) and common situations our generations face. I left him with my phone number in case he needed something and didn’t think back: it had been a very pleasant time and simply enjoyed it.
To my surprise, the next day I got a text message thanking me for the tour and directions…and an invitation to a football match that evening!
Myself I’m not a great football fun, but my partner at the moment is…so I asked if both of us could go. It turned out we could and had a blast both at the game and in the dinner after, where I got to meet more German people friends of his.
Think about it: is there something in the story that you think is really odd? Something bizarre or uncommon?
Or do you see yourself nodding, feeling its just common sense and going with the natural flow of sharing and helping?
How many opportunities can you actually spot? Can you actually name who benefitted from the whole situation or is it just common growth for everybody?
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