Here at Activate Us we focus our attention on concepts of The BRIDGE: project development, community development and personal development.
Today I would like to share an experience I had recently that demonstrates the “Metabolism” aspect of Coordinated Effort… which is part of community development.
I grew up in a very small town in Colorado, about 300 people. My parents still live in the house they raised me and my siblings in. That house is on the main street, close to a café on one side and a restaurant/bar on the other side. On evenings and weekends parking is “a thing”, to say the least.
A few months ago one of the neighbors across the street parked her hybrid car in front of my parents’ house… a very typical thing as there is no parking on her side of the street. The car sat in front of the house for quite a while, deteriorating, slowly starting to look like it had been abandoned. First one tire went flat, then another. One of the rear windows shattered….not broken out, just shattered safety glass with a hole in the middle.
One day about a month ago, I asked the neighbor what her plans were with the car and she said she’d lost the key fob, couldn’t find it anywhere. She was quite distressed about the impact it might be having on my parents’ ability to get in and out of their house. She confided that she had looked into getting a replacement key fob but the $850 cost was prohibitive for her…for me as well, as I had considered helping her. She does have another vehicle which makes it possible for her to continue with her daily life without needing the hybrid. So, the car continued to sit there, in front of my parents’ house.
Now, as serendipity never likes to miss a beat, my parents happened to have young visitors from Germany come stay with them for a week. Their ‘broad stroke’ plan was to visit with my parents then drive to California, visiting sights and friends along the way for the following 3 weeks, finally returning to see my parents before returning to Germany.
A couple of days before they had originally planned to head west, they still had not reserved a rental car. At the time, rental cars, even the economy size, were renting for between $100 and $200 a day, and were not always available. The German couple had bounced around the idea of buying a used car and selling it again before leaving the States. However, used cars were also at a premium and so they were left without any solidified plans.
One evening, as we were all having dinner and chatting about the options available for them…you know how it is, when a group of people are sitting around brainstorming… someone brought up the idea, I think initially as improbable possibility, “wouldn’t it be great if you could offer to pay our neighbor for a new key fob in exchange for borrowing her hybrid for the trip to California.”
Well, it seems the German couple took the conversation to heart because the next day they spoke with the neighbor and the outcome was a win/win/win. The neighbor was thrilled to have such an elegant solution to her car troubles, the Germans were excited about the money they would be saving, and my parents are pleased to have their parking space available again.
What struck me most about this series of events is the evidence of when community comes together, looking for the benefit of all, most of the time, everyone wins. Can you see examples of where this is happening in your life?
This is the “no brainer-ness” of The BRIDGE. Most of us are already behaving in these kinds of collaborative ways, but not necessarily intentionally and with a larger purpose. How quickly do you suppose we could transform our social reality if we did?