A few months ago I was at a NACE conference and the speaker shared this video and it really stuck with me. The video was produced by Chick-Fil-A as a training tool for their staff. If you have 3 minutes to spare, take a few moments to watch:
Wow! What a tear jerker! But also what a necessary reminder: we don’t know which burdens a stranger is carrying. I’ve kept this video in the back of my mind since this summer when I first watched it, but I thought that now, the week of Thanksgiving, seemed like a good time to share it.
As an event manager, I’m constantly interacting with strangers. Many of the events we work on are open to the public and the guests may not be known to me or my team. Even when working with new vendors or staff at a hotel or venue, it’s easy to quickly get annoyed with something isn’t perfect immediately and to act haughty and demanding until the problem is solved. When was the last time we took the time to empathize with someone who made a mistake, instead of judging? I’m certainly guilty of this.
Even when entertaining at home, it’s easy to get so worked up in our own problems that we don’t see the struggles of those around us. Sometimes even friends or family might be shouldering a burden that they cannot share.
Watching this video is a gentle reminder that every life has a story; in the event planning world or hospitality world you might say every guest has a story. We may never know that story, but we can make sure we are treating guests (or customers, or colleagues, or employees, or vendors) with respect and dignity, and maybe find ways to go out of our way to do something just a little special, just a little “above and beyond” to make something happen for a guest.
In the spirit of hospitality and bringing people together (which is really what events are all about), let’s try to remember this video next time we lose patience with a stranger. Speaking as one of the most impatient people I know, this is a challenge for me but I will certainly try. This video is also a reminder to be thankful for what I have and how blessed I truly am.
I would love to know your thoughts on this video! Did you find it as moving as I did? How do you remind yourself to have empathy?