At a recent meeting planners’ holiday luncheon the young meeting planners were asked to share how and why they came to choose Meeting Planning for their profession. A vibrant, open-faced young Latino woman, who had just started as an intern with a neighboring event planner told us her very personal story. It turned out to be the most touching Christmas story I have ever heard. I recount it here, verbatim, for your edification.
SHARE A SANDWICH
“Well,” she began with a big smile, “when I was in the fourth grade at The Desert Star Charter School, a new little boy joined our class. He was shy and didn’t make friends easily.
One day I noticed that he sat alone at lunch and didn’t seem to have anything to eat. I asked my friends what was going on with him, and they said he came from a poor family and never had any lunch. Believe me, we were all poor at Desert Star, so I went over to him and offered him half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At first he was reluctant, but I insisted, and he took the half-sandwich and proceeded to wolf it down as he brightened and began to talk. After a few minutes of conversation, my friends drifted over and introduced themselves. From that day on he became part of our group and made friends with everyone.
That experience changed me. I realized that I could bring people together, and in doing so, make everyone’s life a little better. After that, I became the one who arranged the high school dances and school trips.
FIND A LIFE
I had no idea what I wanted to do as my graduation from college approached. Because I always arranged the dances and homecoming events while I was an undergraduate, the dean asked me if I would like to be on the Commencement Committee for my own graduation. I eagerly accepted, and at the initial committee meeting, I met my first professional meeting planner. Until then, I didn’t even know there was such a thing.
I shanghaied the poor woman and dragged her off to lunch where I bombarded her with questions. I don’t believe I have ever been so excited. I had discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and here I am today having lunch with all of you.”
All because she was willing to share her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she now says, “I can share my peanut butter and jelly every day.”