Many years ago, Four Star General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Stormin’ Norman, the war hero, came to town. I happened to be in the same building where he was meeting with the state’s movers and shakers. I was aware he was there, that his limo was parked near the loading dock/back door entrance to the building.
I was in the building on other business. I suppose I was looking “official”. Meaning I was a woman wearing a dark suit, had no purse and no man (ie hot date) at my side. Apparently I looked like Secret Service or CIA or an FBI stereotype. This is no compliment. My interpretation: woman with boring, ill fitting ugly suit with no adornments, low or no heels, bad hair day with a waistline bulge that might be mistaken for a gun.
I stood on the loading dock, talking into my cell phone, which at the time was a superior high tech communication device.
A middle-aged woman approached me and asked if she could meet the general. She explained her son’s military service and her devotion to the general. Once I figured out she was talking about General Norman Schwarzkopf, I said sure, she could talk with him.
I told her, “When he leaves the building, which should be any minute, approach him, here on the loading dock, as he is about to slip into the limo and talk with him.” I assured her, “Just be yourself.”
Sure enough, within a few minutes, the general approached, ready to hop into his ride on this rainy day, and this woman leaped in front of him and engaged him in conversation.
He asked her to walk with him to his car and then asked her into the car. His escorts guided her along with him, held the door for her and kept her dry under the general’s umbrella as they walked. They talked for a few minutes in his car and she emerged with a bright smile. The limo pulled away and she ran up to me, with tears in her eyes, thanking me for the opportunity I gave her to meet this exceptional gentleman.
In reality, I did nothing. I had no authority to make the introduction, although I looked like his military escort, to authorize her conversation with him. I did not give her any opportunity. I merely pointed out HER own opportunity to take the chance. She would not have approached him on her own, she was too timid. I gave her permission to take a chance. And she was so grateful.
Note to self and others – don’t wait for permission. Seize the moment. Take a chance.