Last month, we exhibited at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Though I love attending conventions for Franciscan Media, they also can be quite stressful—especially when you are in charge. It was on Saturday, February 23, that I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I had set up a luncheon for some of our customers and it was a good distance from the convention center. Because our lunch period was short, we hired a bus to transport the attendees to the restaurant and then back to the convention center. I was waiting patiently at the restaurant after setting up our presentation and other materials, when I got the first phone call from my colleague.
It played out almost as a scene from my recent nightmares. I had been worried and stressed that something might go wrong with the transportation for the luncheon, because we were trying something new this year. Despite confirming several times with the bus company the exact location of “the pickup,” my colleague was calling to tell me he had a group of hungry people with no bus in sight.
After trying a couple of phone numbers, I was finally able to get in touch with someone to help me.
When the attendees finally arrived at the restaurant, I was prepared for irritated customers with angry grumbles. I was not prepared for the smiles and grace they showed to me and my colleagues in the middle of this situation. The wait staff at the restaurant was also pleasant, helpful, and smiling, despite our already short timeline being trimmed even more. I was amazed.
Though the luncheon did not go as planned, in the end all was well. I was able to give my brief presentation, hand out some promotional materials, and provide a delicious meal to a room full of gracious people. Several stopped by our booth to thank us again for the meal, and to check out some of the resources they had heard about at the luncheon.
Looking back, it was an amazing day. Not because everything went perfectly, but because in the midst of the chaos I was feeling inside, I was surrounded by Christ—in the faces of the patient, understanding customers and in the encouraging, compassionate words from my colleagues. My most treasured quote from someone who attended the lunch: “If your products are half as good as your people are in the face of adversity, I figured I had to at least stop and take a look.”