I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to volunteer at this year’s BlogHer10 convention. In exchange for a few hours of registering and greeting fellow attendees, my conference ticket was free.
I was thrilled with the offer.
I worked the desk with some awesome bloggers who were amazing, friendly and awesome. The time passed quickly as we shared stories, embarrassing facts about ourselves, and fantastic food we managed to steal from the free breakfast located one floor above us.
We discovered quickly that the cool swag bags we were passing out were filled with some awesome stuff, and for this teacher the bag of Play-Doh was a great surprise! Many of the ladies that I worked with, however, did not have children and had to think carefully about what they were shipping back to their home bases.
Over the course of the second morning, much to my surprise and delight, the girls I worked with and several others I met while working the desk brought me their bags of Play-Doh. I MIGHT have let slip the fact that I teach kindergarten and was THRILLED at the prospect of an extra stash. Before I knew it, I had five bags of Play-Doh stashed behind the desk!
When my shift was over, I carried my stash as best I could to the elevator to wait an eternity for a ride to the 28th floor. (The Hilton hired some kind of tortuous elevator designer, who decided it would be fun to only have one or two elevators that went to certain floors, where you then had to catch OTHERS to get where you MIGHT want to go. See. I'm exhausted just writing about it.)
The doors opened, and my Play-Doh and I managed to squeeze in. As the car started it's climb, I noticed some little heads around my knee area. (Keep in mind, I hadn't seen ANY CHILDREN on any elevators since I arrived.) I asked the child next to me if she wanted some Play-Doh. She smiled, looked at her mom, and then nodded. I was happy to hand her one of my stashes.
I looked behind me and noticed ANOTHER child. And beside him? Yeah. Another one. I happily gave them each a bag, and had two more left. The door opened one floor below mine, and guess who boarded? A woman. And her daughter.
I walked into my room with one bag of Play Doh, a happy heart - and a direct order from my daughters to turn right around and head straight to the Expo Hall to find some make-up.
When I entered the hall I made a bee-line to where I was told the make-up was located. I knew there wouldn't be any openings for make-overs, as those fill up the first hour that they start scheduling, and it was the second day of the conference.
I walked up to the lovely girl who had a chart in one hand, and her phone in the other. I was hoping that perhaps I could snag one of the bags of make-up that came with the makeover. She was standing beside the make-up artists and was obviously in charge the very popular booth.
I stared at her. Sure, she was gorgeous, but there was something else that held my attention.
Her hearing aides.
I couldn't help but stare, and with a smile I thought of my sister. She looked up from her chart and said to me, "Hi! We JUST got a cancellation. Would you like to be next?"
I almost fainted! Would I? WOULD I? I practically threw myself in the open chair.
And that was when I realized that those five Play-Doh's that were bringing smiles to kids somewhere in the Hilton? They had just paid for my free, fantastic make-over, and something even better.
The ensuing visit with an enchanting and inspiring young woman was the real gift that I received that day. And I'm convinced that it was no coincidence.