Can $20 Dollars Change a Life?

Can $20 Dollars Change a Life?

August 17th, 2011 // 11:11 am @

Can $20 Dollars Change a Life?

These days I’ve got so much to write about, lots going on, that I try to keep a list so I don’t forget the really good stuff that I want to share with you. Last couple weeks some heavy stuff, so today I thought I’d tell you a story. A true story that happened to me a couple weeks ago.

Hope it’ll have the impact on you that it did on me.

I often use Sunday’s as my catch-all writing day. I take a giant stack of project work (I keep every client and/or project in a separate file folder, often more than one, sometimes in big envelopes) so when I go to write, wherever I go, take what I need to work on with me.

I’ve prepared in advanced, have a list in priority order, and I start typing.

In most cases, my mind has long been thinking about the projects in advance so when I sit down the magic just happens. It’s just plain silly to sit down and “try” to write, if you haven’t conditioned yourself to be able to get the job done on-demand, then do not sit down until you’ve mentally prepared yourself and given your subconscious the opportunity to do the heavy lifting for you in advance.

That’s a big lesson by the way, but time to get back to my story.

Normally I start out a bit leisurely in the morning, maybe run, fix the kids some breakfast, relax, and then hit the ground running. It’s worth the drive time to a destination of my preference because gives me a chance to play out the day in my mind, project by project. And also, having the ability to do what I want, pretty much when I want, I go wherever I feel like going when I schedule a day like that day.

So this particular Sunday I went to one of my favorite Starbucks and a long 10 hours later I finally finished up, well sort of, I never ever actually finish… no such thing in this line of work.

None the less, I had a deadline of 9:00pm because I wanted to go to The Bone Fish Grill that I like to frequent every once in a while. It’s not downtown Charleston but a good quality restaurant none the less.

But, like so many other days, I missed the deadline, skipped dinner, and kept right on working…
The list, after all, was more important than dinner. Should’ve typed faster, worked harder, been even better prepared.

So round about 10:20pm Maddy and I headed over to the Denny’s where we’d planned to stop for a milkshake on the way home, instead, dinner and a milkshake.

The young waitress was nice, attentive, and well mannered, amongst the probably, less-than-high-school graduate English. As Ryan will tell you, eating with me is as he puts it “an experience”, regardless of whether or not it’s the upscale places I frequent, never-been-before restaurants, or the local Denny’s.

Details for another time.

The girl did great, and took care of us, which is no easy undertaking, especially after a hard days work churning out copy and printing money on my computer.

As we finally got around to the Milkshake part, she informed us that she was going to be leaving soon and wanted to make sure we were doing okay and if we needed anything. Turns out she had already stayed about 20 minutes past her clock-out time to take care of us and one other lady in the restaurant that were “her customers”.

We told her we were good and said to bring the check. I absolutely hate restaurants that don’t take money at the table, thus having to wait in line, so I usually politely refuse and ask them to take care of it.

She did and I told her to put $20 on the tip. Because at Denny’s they ring it up with the receipt.

She stopped, laughed, and said, how much…I said $20, and she responded “are you serious?”

And I said, “no, I’m Scott, but yes, I said $20 for the tip.”

She then went on to tell us that she was just getting ready to leave to get home to her daughter so her mom could go home or whatever. A story you hear all too often these days. The girl, I’d be shocked if she was more than 19…maybe, but that’s not the point.

She was going home for the evening, and we made her day.

She said to me that she was going to cry and she just couldn’t believe that I was giving her $20 and that it would make her and her baby who she was going home to see so very happy.

She said it then, and again, with more emotion when she came back to the table.
And I said to Maddy, if I would have known how much she would appreciate it, I would have left $100. And, I’m planning to go back in a couple weeks, and do just that.

My story has a couple points, first some commentary.

You do realize the 100,000s, probably millions, I just don’t pay attention, people who are sitting on their ass, at home, wasting away their life, do nothing, instead of feeding the kids they brought into the world.

Collecting checks, cashing food stamps. NOT working.

I’m not a fan of the girl I met at Denny’s specific situation, and I’m not judging people, believe me. But, life is harsh enough, so I just let it do its deal, and I keep my opinions to myself. I also believe it’s what you do with life and with happens, that matters.

I don’t want to make excuses for her, but, she was working, at night, while others are doing a lot of other stuff. None of us want to be judged by our past, but by our present. She deserved the tip. Deserves more. Deserves a chance at something better.

Of course it’s debatable whether or not she’ll catch a break or make one for herself.
But at that moment, in that restaurant, she felt like a million bucks, because someone stopped, paid attention, and treated her like a human being.

Can $20 dollars change a life?
Maybe that $20 didn’t change her, but it sure made her day.

$20, for the right person can change a life.
My Dan Kennedy book, all 3 combined costs me just over $30 and they did change my life.

Our chapter events are free, I’m not bashful about the fact that I change lives every single month. In fact, that’s the business I’m in, really.

No, not the life changing business, the belief business.
The beliefs come first, before the changes.

And people don’t wake up with them, they find them, first in other people, then in themselves.

To wrap this up today, my little story should be valuable lesson for you and for how seriously you take your life as an influencer. Because you are, to everyone around you, whether you want to be or not.

Personally, I’m able to use money to change lives now, but not before.
I was the one needing the money…

I start my month with an extra $1,000 (keyword is extra) in my pocket and I give it away in $20, $50, $100 chunks to people who deserve it by earning it.

You can build up to it, or do a lot more.
And just so we are clear, I’m not talking about “tips” like at Restaurants and stuff, that’s normal and customary, I’m talking about “rewarding” people.

I’m talking about MAKING DAYS for people who are long due one.

Oh, I’m not here to talk about giving away money, and my philosophy on that, already written about, you surely know, and hopefully do.

What I’m talking about is the power of making people cry, of extracting positive emotions, of showing belief, of giving of yourself to others.

I’m talking about MAKING DAYS and changing lives.

See, it just happened to be the waitress in the restaurant that day.
But, right now, reading this, I’m influencing you.
For some, maybe one, maybe two, maybe more…
What I’m writing is hitting you just right, between the eyes, it’s either a wake-up call, or affirmation.

Tomorrow, I’m going to change people’s lives.
Because that’s what I set-out to do, I’m very clear on the tools I have and the impact I want to make. It’s not just me, you too have the same power, first you have to realize and accept it, second you have to harness it and allow it to expand and be used.

That night, I turned to Maddy and said something to the effect of how easy it is to make a difference. Holding a door, giving a compliment, being genuinely nice, respectful, courteous.

Giving a gift, showing appreciation.
The list goes on.

That night the price was $20, for a meal that might have been $16 or $17. I spent more than that when I first sat down at Starbucks earlier that day. But the $20 made her day and who knows, whether she’s working there a year from now, isn’t, or perhaps has found an upgrade.

None of that matters.
What mattered was that moment.
What’s significant is how little it took.

Hey, here’s a question for you…

Are you striving to change lives in your life every day.
Are you doing ‘stuff’ to MAKE your customers’ days.

So many people get caught up in holding on, holding out, and holding up
You name it.

“Holding” much of anything other than your kids or spouse is rarely a good thing.

Let go my friends.

Want more
Expect more
Do more


You can damn sure be certain it’ll almost always mean more to them than you think it will, and always be more significant of a gain to them than a ‘material’ loss to you.

It’s really about your human nature, your behavior, what you condition yourself to do.
You too can change.
And it’s starts with you.
Heck, you are going to affect many people if you are affecting yourself too.

I was touched that day and since then I always got an extra $20 handy, because, you just never know who you’re going to run into that day.

Remember, this goes beyond the random act, into your relationship with your customers, your staff, your family, people around you. It’s more than ‘doing business’, it’s really about a philosophy, a way of living.

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