Recently my wife and I took our children to Disneyland. From Seattle the trip is a quick two-hour plane ride and a short ride to the resort. As fast as the trip appears on paper, I always worry about taking young children on a plane where there is no place to go if that all-too-familiar tantrum occurs.
With that thought in mind, we boarded the plane early to allow the children to get settled into their surroundings before we have to take off. As the kids were working out who was going to sit by the window, I sat in my aisle seat across from them and wondered who would be joining me by my window.
As I stepped into the aisle to allow two people to join my row I looked up to see a fair-haired little boy, about two years old, and his father—my client. “WOW” escaped my lips. Of all the places and all the times to run into a client…and to think we’d end up sitting in the same row! The coincidence did not end on the plane. He was also traveling to Disneyland, where he was meeting his parents (also clients) and staying at the same hotel.
It is a real treat to be able to visit with clients by accident like this. When they are in the office or on the phone, a lot of the time it is all about business. Yes, we hear great vacation stories and sometimes even see pictures, but to just visit for the sake of passing two hours on a plane was great.
I truly enjoyed watching his young son playing, looking out the window and just being himself. It is so rare that my clients get to meet my family or that my family gets to meet one of my clients.
The plane ride passed uneventfully, which is fantastic considering we had three children under the age of six between our families. We had a pleasant conversation and decided to meet up during our stay. I was really looking forward to it—his parents are also my clients and this would be the first time I would meet them in person.
Sunday morning we met up in a play area near our hotel. There was a slide, rope bridge and a lookout tower to keep the children occupied while we talked casually, sharing stories about the kids and mostly just enjoying the moment.
It is so rare for me to see my clients and enjoy their company in everyday life. I believe it strengthens the most important part of what we do at Merriman and that is building relationships. Without that, we would not be in business.
My client is adding another precious child to his family soon. I treasure opportunities like this to be a part of their lives. I hope the relationship lasts so I can help them with college questions and offer assistance with other important life events.