Knowing that Valentine’s Day was upon us, I asked our team to think about events that they have loved. Being the “newbie” on the team, and a relative newcomer to the event planning world, I expected to hear responses citing grandiose events, oozing with wow factor, where no detail was missed. To my surprise and delight, the stories that were shared nearly all mentioned charity events or events focused around giving back; big on emotion, with an excess of warm-fuzzies. One story in particular, recounted by our owner Kristin, had all of our waterworks flowing, begging to be shared on this day dedicated to love.
“A main focus of what we do here at Cheers! Events is team building events. Sometimes these take the form of a lively boat building competition, where one team member almost certainly ends up soaking wet. Other times we’re organizing a zany scavenger hunt through the streets of our favorite local towns. But sometimes the team building also serves as a give back to the community. And in this case, our client chose to build bikes for kids at the Boys & Girls Club.
This in and of itself is moving. You have this team of fairly fortunate individuals, coming
together to help children in our local community. You could leave it right there and it would be significant. But what happened to John* is something that I will never forget.
This particular bike building was even more memorable than usual. The children that were receiving the bikes were from incredibly difficult situations, yet despite all that they had to overcome, had still managed to get straight As. The Boys & Girls Club wanted to recognize this tremendous accomplishment with a meaningful reward, in hopes of encouraging them to stay on the right path. We arranged for a special lunch with the straight-A kids and bike builders, who were all top executives at the company. The kids & their buddies chatted their lunchtime away, before parting ways when the wrenches & wrists got to work. The executives made quick work of the bike building, likely fueled by the friendships that they had just made during lunch.
Typically with bike builds, the builders do not get to see the actual bike presentation. But in this case, and without the team knowing, we arranged for the presentation to happen that day. A little boy named Alex* enjoyed his lunch so much with John, that he was moved to write a letter to him. He had given it to his Boys & Girls Club leader, who in turn passed it onto me. When our unsuspecting team gathered later that day, I was able to present John with the letter from Alex, his 7-year old lunch buddy. He read it aloud, barely able to get through the words. I don’t have a copy of the letter, but it was something like this: Dear Mr. John, Thank you for coming to have lunch with me. You are my best friend. I am so excited to open a restaurant with you one day. Thank you.
Your best friend, Alex
Needless to say, John was overcome with emotion and there wasn’t a dry eye on an adult in the room. And watching the joy on those little faces as they rode their new bikes for the first time is seared into my memory. It is a moment in my career, and for that matter in my life, that I will never forget. It takes so little to make an impact that will last a lifetime. I have carried this with me since, and I am so grateful for the reminder of how lucky I am to have a hand in creating
memories like these.”
*not real name
By: Katie Hale