I have a fascination with millionaires. Part of it is probably learned from our culture’s interest of rich people. Part of it is a curiosity of what it would be like to have more money than I needed. Part of it is realizing how difficult it is to succeed at business. So when I get a chance to interact with millionaires, I pay special attention. Here’s the story of what I learned about gratitude from one rich person, who I will call Mark.
In my last job I organized leadership events for young professionals. I invited Mark to come speak, and he graciously accepted. Knowing that the organization I worked for was a nonprofit, he agreed to volunteer to speak.
Mark had experience as the president of a national multi-million dollar business and was well known in Vancouver. We had 110 people attend the sold-out event, and everyone loved Mark’s talk.
I wanted to show my appreciation for Mark so I gave him a card along with several gift cards, which I gave him after the talk. After the event, I went out for drinks with my leadership team to celebrate a successful event.
Then my phone rings. It’s Mark. He called me to thank me for the gift I gave him. I was surprised. That was a nice gesture. He could have emailed me. But the phone call felt more personal. I’ve organized several of these events and none of the other speakers did anything like this.
Two weeks later I get a voicemail from Mark. He was heading to dinner with his wife and using the gift card I had given him. He thanked me again for the gift. I was blown away. The fact that not only did he remember that I gave him the gift card, but that he took the effort to call me to thank me personally made me feel very special. On top of that, I was really a nobody with nothing I could do that would benefit Mark, which makes his thanks that much more genuine.
That was 6 years ago and I have never forgotten Mark’s kindness.