This month marks the 33rd anniversary of my car accident. In classic form, six teenagers were heading out one night to an event. The forty minute drive was interrupted after twenty minutes when the car left the road, plunged into a thirty foot ravine and flipped end over end – four times. Each time the car hit the ground, a passenger was thrown from the car. There were four teenagers in the back seat and two in the front. We had dropped one passenger off who was in the front seat, as she decided not to come along at the last minute. When the car hit the bottom of the ravine, I was the first person thrown from the backseat which meant that my body broke the rear windshield making way for my three fellow passengers to escape. When the car came to a rest, only the driver remained in the vehicle. Five of us had been thrown from the car. The driver who was behind us and witnessed the accident, came to visit us in hospital. From the look on his face I could tell, he was amazed at what he had witnessed and that we had all survived. To say we were fortunate is an understatement.
While my injuries set me back a few weeks, I finished high school with everyone else the following June. To this day I consider it a pivotal moment in my life. Two years later, I got a small settlement from the driver’s insurance company. It was enough to help me put myself through college (while working part time), take a trip to Europe with my girlfriend after graduation (supplemented with money from working part time) and then a year later, I attended university (while working part time) to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts three years later. While I cannot say for certain…I’m pretty confident that I would not have attended two post-secondary educational institutions if I had not been involved in that car accident.
Today we so often hear folks say, ‘All things for a reason.’ While these words can be inspiring, they can also be trite and meaningless for someone who has just been given a terminal diagnosis or in the middle of a personal struggle. Our brains are wired to be ‘meaning seeking machines’. We want and need to find meaning in everything and we are really good at it!
The dream ‘making lemonade from lemons’ scenario for any of the folks we work with would be for them to be in an attrition situation due to circumstance, release the rooms back to the hotel, have the hotel resell the rooms at a higher rate and then have the hotel extend the full list of concessions because they made up the revenue difference with the other group!
Hey, I am an optimist and my glass is 100% full! All is possible until the revenue manager says no! These days my glass is filled with actual squeezed lemons as I keep learning about the health benefits of these amazing citrus gems. If you have an example of turning lemons into lemonade in the industry, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!