Lifestyle is style over amount. And style is an art – the art of living. You can’t buy style with money. You can’t buy good taste with money. You can only buy more with money. Lifestyle is culture – the appreciation of good music, dance, art, sculpture, literature, plays and the art of living well. It’s a taste for the fine, the unique, the beautiful.
Lifestyle also means rewarding excellence wherever you find it by not taking the small things of life for granted. With Valentine’s Day approaching I wanted to illustrate this with a personal anecdote:
Many years ago my lady friend and I were on a trip to Carmel, California for some shopping and exploring. On the way we stopped at a service station. As soon as we parked our car in front of the pumps, a young man, about eighteen or nineteen, came bouncing out to the car and with a big smile said, “Can I help you?”
“Yes,” I answered. “A full tank of gas, please.” I wasn’t prepared for what followed. In this day and age of self-service and deteriorating customer treatment, this young man checked every tire, washed every window – even the sunroof – singing and whistling the whole time. We couldn’t believe both the quality of service and his upbeat attitude about his work.
When he brought the bill I said to the young man, “Hey, you really have taken good care of us. I appreciate it.”
He replied, “I really enjoy working. It’s fun for me and I get to meet nice people like you.”
This kid was really something!
I said, “We’re on our way to Carmel and we want to get some milkshakes. Can you tell us where we can find the nearest Baskin-Robbins?”
“Baskin-Robbins is just a few blocks away,” he said as he gave us exact directions. Then he added, “Don’t park out front – park around to the side so your car won’t get sideswiped.”
What a kid!
As we got to the ice cream store we ordered milkshakes, except that instead of two, we ordered three. Then we drove back to the station. Our young friend dashed out to greet us. “Hey, I see you got your milkshakes.”
“Yes, and this one is for you!”
His mouth fell open. “For me?”
“Sure. With all the fantastic service you gave us, I couldn’t leave you out of the milkshake deal.”
“Wow!” was his astonished reply.
As we drove off I could see him in my rear-view mirror just standing there, grinning from ear to ear.
Now, what did this little act of generosity cost me? Only about two dollars – you see, it’s not the money, it’s the style.
Well, I must have been feeling especially creative that day, so on our arrival in Carmel I drove directly to a flower shop. As we walked inside I said to the florist, “I need a long-stemmed rose for my lady to carry while we go shopping in Carmel.”
The florist, a rather unromantic type, replied, “We sell them by the dozen.”
“I don’t need a dozen,” I said, “just one.”
“Well,” he replied haughtily, “it will cost you two dollars.”
“Wonderful,” I exclaimed. “There’s nothing worse than a cheap rose.”
Selecting the rose with some deliberation, I handed it to my friend. She was so impressed! And the cost? Two dollars. Just two dollars. A bit later she looked up and said, “Jim, I must be the only woman in Carmel today carrying a rose.” And I believe she probably was.
Can you imagine the opportunity to create magic with those around you, and all for the cost of a few dollars, some imagination and care. Remember, it is not the amount that matters but the thought and care that often has the greatest impact upon those you love.
To Your Success,