Counselor and Project Manager
I wouldn’t say I’m in the same boat with Jane Austen who said, “Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable,” but for me, a little heads-up is always nice.
I got thinking about surprises when I was walking to my car in the parking garage after work one day and something odd caught my eye. Strange thoughts started running through my head as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing. “That’s a tiny sun reflector. Wait. Why do they need a sun reflector in a parking garage? And how did they get that to stand up inside their windshield?”
As I got closer, I realized the picture was propped up on the outside of the SUV. More strange thoughts. “That’s a weird way to return a picture—just leaving it on someone’s windshield. But why would someone borrow a picture? Borrow a dress—yes. Tools—yes. But a picture—weird.”
Then the light came on. I remembered it was a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend and I came to what I can think is the only logical conclusion—someone had left the picture on the windshield as a surprise for the driver in plans to whisk them away on an unexpected tropical vacation. How fun is that? I felt happy for the driver, impressed by the giver and I’ll admit, a wee bit jealous.
(Then my “mom” brain kicked in and I wondered if the driver was a mom of young kids and imagined a million questions running through her mind. How can I leave the kids? Were there childcare arrangements? Did someone pack the right clothes/toys/amount of diapers/their favorite blankie/a nightlight? Yes, being a mom of young kids can sometimes suck the excitement right out of a surprise.)
Once I’d assured myself their kids would be fine, I imagined myself in a lounge chair in the warm sunshine, the breeze in my hair, the smell of the ocean, the taste of the margaritas. Then reminded myself I was in a parking garage and heading home to my husband and three boys where our weekend would be filled up with soccer, baseball games and a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy if I was lucky. I love watching my boys play sports but an oceanside getaway takes top bill. Sorry, boys.
I was tempted to hang out and wait for the driver so I could catch their expression when they saw the picture but thought that was too close to stalking, so I headed home—never to find out the ending to the story. I hoped my instinct was right and that the driver would have a wonderful long weekend with the person who cared about them enough to plan the big surprise.
What about you? When’s the last time you surprised someone at home? At work? How about surprising your best customers with a handwritten note thanking them for their business? Fresh flowers to brighten the place up? Morning kolaches for your staff. (If you don’t know what a kolache is, check them out here). It doesn’t take an exotic trip to make someone feel appreciated—flowers, food, a compliment. Sometimes small surprises are the best.
What’s the best surprise you’ve ever been a part of? (One of mine was when the doctor announced I was having twins…yes, I had an inkling they were coming but it was still a surprise!)