Just a thought… We rise by lifting others. [Robert Ingersoll]
Now that I’m done my nine-month stay with Ocean 98.5 here in Victoria, I am so happy to say that an experience Rob and I shared has turned into something that Ocean has been able to use as something special for listeners. Let me explain.
A few months ago, we were out having dinner at a restaurant that is right next to the Victoria Airport called the Spitfire Grill. As we sat quietly and enjoyed our meal, I couldn’t help noticing a mom with her three little children seated near a window that looked out on a runway. One little boy had his face (and fingers, of course) stuck to the window as he watched planes taxi by. Meantime, Mom was busy feeding a little one in a high chair and a slightly older child in a booster. No one was making a disturbance or anything; they were just out having dinner and the mother was juggling three children while trying to have a few bites of her own meal.
I wasn’t going to tell you this part (or share it with anyone, actually) but it leads into the Ocean story. Before the little family packed up to go, I went to the cashier/server and told her I’d like to pick up their meal. So I paid and returned to our table to finish our dinner.
The mother gathered up her children, put on coats and made sure they’d all gotten the things they’d come with, and headed for the door and cash register, both of which were out of the sightlines of our table by a wall. A few moments later, she came around the corner, her eyes wide and just a little teary and said, “Uh…thank you?”
Her hands were outstretched as if to say “what the heck…?” and we said, “You’re welcome. We just saw you out with your family and thought how nice that was…that’s all. (Of course, we were thinking of another little family in Ottawa.) She explained that her husband was at home doing a deep clean as they prepared to list it for sale and she had to get the children out of the house. She thanked us again, and we felt so good, I almost cried when she was out of sight.
That’s when Rob said, “Imagine if you could have said, ‘That’s a gift to you from Ocean 98.5’ and how she’d tell everyone what the radio station had done for her! All just good will and happy feelings.
I agreed and we thought on it. I shared the idea with Program Director Susan Knight: what if a server at a restaurant could choose a random table and tell them that Ocean 98.5 had taken care of their bill? She mulled it over; you have to know that a station in a city the size of Victoria doesn’t have the budget or connections to give away a trip a day or make dreams come true like, say, CHFI. But Susan aims high; she embraced the idea and made it happen!
Thanks to an existing relationship with a lovely restaurant Rob and I were already very familiar with, the idea of the Secret Server became a reality. So now, every week, some family or couple dining at the Beach House restaurant in Cordova Bay is surprised with $100 towards their dinner. The first winners were a couple out celebrating Lunar New Year, whose daughter was dressed head to foot in traditional garb. The next winners were a mother and dad and two teens who were celebrating the birthday of “hardest working dad, ever.” They were delighted as well.
Isn’t this neat? How a little idea like “pay it forward” can be turned into something so special and so touching? We’re grateful, Rob and I, that if there’s just a tiny legacy we’ve left behind, it’s the Secret Server (thanks again, Susan!) and we hope it’s going to spread to other restaurants and affect other families for months and years to come! I love radio….
Tomorrow: uh-oh, there’s another scam in your inbox.