Giving Through My Connections

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Beautiful sunflowers line the outskirts of the strawberry fields in south Tampa

“It’s funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes
There’s no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this I’ve come to know”  

Tonight I will be one of the 100,000+ people hanging out at Centennial Olympic Park watching Zac Brown Band perform a free concert in the center of all the Final Four action. My best friend and I are sneaking out of work early to drive down there and get a good spot before the show starts at 9 p.m. Naturally, the only hiccup is what the heck I’m going to wear…

When I set out on this six-month challenge to stop spending and to give as much as possible, I knew creating connections between people would be an awesome way to give, and it’s something that comes naturally to me. A few weeks ago I met this adorable family at an event on campus. The dad is a student at the university I work for, and his wife is a stay-at-home mom to three amazing kids – two boys and a super talkative and adorable little girl. The kids told me all about a trip they took to SeaWorld two years earlier, of which they seemed to remember every detail.

In that moment I recalled a colleague of mine who said she had five passes to the Atlanta Zoo that she could use as many times as she wanted for whoever cared to go. I asked the kids if they had been to the zoo yet; they hadn’t, but they hoped to go soon. Without hinting at anything, I got contact information for the parents and went on my way.

I emailed my colleague later that evening to ask if she could use her passes to take my new friends to the zoo. She generously agreed. I heard they went last week during the kids’ spring break. I really hope they had fun making more memories as a young family exploring cool animals, and I look forward to the full account as told by their 3, 5 and 7 year-olds.

The funny thing is, once again, it cost me nothing. It cost the family nothing. The only charge was whatever my colleague paid for the passes six months ago, which she uses almost every week. If I hadn’t been actively seeking opportunities to give and connect, this experience could have been missed entirely. I’m so glad I played a minor role in making it happen.

I’m already busy working on my next connection. I love this Santa Claus feeling!

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