Note: A few weeks ago (at press time), I had an experience I won’t ever forget, and I posted about it on social media. The response from the real estate community has been overwhelming and humbling. It reminded me what type of individuals we have in our space—kind, caring, empathetic and always ready to help. Here’s a shortened version of the story I shared:
I sat down on the plane to fly home from a quick business trip to the East Coast.
An older lady was seated next to me. She said hello and told me her name was Lorraine. She’d been taken onto the plane by wheelchair during preboarding. Super nice lady. I could see it in her eyes.
I went through my business travel routine. It’s the same every time: headphones, podcast and laptop. I was all set for four uninterrupted hours of productivity.
But Lorraine started talking to me. So I took off my headphones. They never went back on.
Lorraine was talking for a reason. She was a little confused and scared. It struck a chord with me. I understood my mission.
She hadn’t flown in quite some time. She didn’t know how to open the tray table or do other little things a regular traveler understands. This was my chance to help.
She’d left Florida to avoid Hurricane Dorian, and said she’d be staying with family in Denver. But she kept repeating things. She spoke with a sense of helplessness.
She was scared about the trip. Scared of being alone. I could see her eyes welling up.
This happens to people who are losing their memory. It’s scary to not know if you have the help you need.
She had good long-term memory, but little recall of today’s events. She wasn’t quite able to tell me what was going on, and she didn’t have a phone with her.
I helped her with her tray table, food and drinks. We had dinner together, and she even tried to share her meal with me. The flight got bumpy, so we made jokes to ease her mind.
The lady across the aisle and I helped her to the bathroom and back to her seat.
I asked the flight attendants to make sure she had someone picking her up; they weren’t sure for a while. Lots of conversation and questions ensued, and the airline worked on figuring it out.
We landed and an airline manager was at the gate with a wheelchair to greet her.
I wrote my cell number on my card and gave it to her. I told her to call me if she needed anything.
I joked that she was a rebel for escaping her retirement community and that her friends would be jealous of her adventures. She liked that. We’d had a good time. She thanked me and said I’d made her day.
What Lorraine didn’t realize was that she’d made my day, too. By needing help, she was giving me a gift—the opportunity to come through for her.
No matter what your role in this business, you have a chance to help someone virtually every day. Watch for these opportunities. Take time to listen. And follow up with care and action. As I learned on that plane, it’s worth doing every time.
Adam Contos is CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. For more information, please visit www.remax.com.