We just returned from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, celebrating David’s 60th birthday and sharing the TED* work with a group of coaches and consultants. After two excellent weeks we were on our way home when a “victim story” gave us an opportunity to practice the TED* principles of: (1) seeing current reality as it is without blame or judgment and (2) having faith that we would figure out the Baby Steps needed to face our “drama.”
Here’s what happened:
We had completed the TED* 2-day training in Amsterdam the night before and were scheduled on a Friday morning train to Paris, from which we had a 1:30 flight to Chicago. We had purchased our tickets and reservation the Tuesday before, so all we had to do was to show up and get on the train.
Or so we thought!
The day of our travel home we arrived at the Amsterdam train station at 5:30 AM for our 6:30 AM train to Paris. David pulled out the tickets to look at them and his jaw dropped. Donna knew something wasn’t right. “These tickets are for yesterday’s train,” he announced. We immediately headed for the ticket window and the agent confirmed that we “had a problem,” that she only worked domestic reservations and the international window would open at 6:15. We look over to see that there were about half- dozen people already in line. Needless to say, we felt victimized by the circumstance.
For a few brief moments we nervously listed back-up plans, and reviewed in our minds who was to blame. At that moment we both realized we were not going to be victims to this mistake. We took a few deep breaths, reminded one another to stay calm and to trust that all was going to be okay however this worked out.
The next few moments were incredible.
The ticket agent at the international desk opened fifteen minutes early and within ten minutes all the customers ahead of us were on their way. We showed the agent our tickets and explained the situation. “Oh my, that IS a problem!” was his response. He said he could not give us a refund and the “senior discount” fare was no longer available. We told him of our urgent need to get to Paris and David said “We are at your mercy.”
“Let me see what I can do,” he replied. After a few “hmms” and pauses, clicks on the screen, conversation with his colleague (in Dutch) – who just shrugged – he printed and gave us two tickets. We pushed our credit card toward him, wondering how much it was going to set us back. “No additional charge. Here are your seats. Have a great trip.”
Amazed, we thanked him profusely and ran to the train. A few minutes later we were sitting in first class (we had booked second class) and on our way home.
The lesson for us was that, rather than overly reacting to the Challenger of the wrong date on the tickets, we saw Current Reality for what it was without blame or judgment. We paused, grounded and centered ourselves. That allowed us to calmly brainstorm possible alternate Baby Steps, then let go. We had faith that we would find our way home.
A few Baby Steps later we were on our way!