My chances of making it to Contractor Connection looked bleak on Tuesday morning when my flight from Detroit was suddenly canceled. First, the airline said the pilot's hand was stung by a bee and swelled up. Less than 10 minutes after that announcement, it seemed they had a replacement en route and began letting people board, but quickly stopped, closed the door, and canceled the flight -- with no further explanation. All they said was people would be rebooked, but it seems most weren't getting out on a new flight until Wednesday -- which would have been too late. Four hours and two trys later, I managed to catch a flight on standby. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of a delayed flight from Amsterdam -- meaning the people on that flight missed their connection.

So, nearly 12 hours after my day started, I happily and excitedly arrived in Orlando and headed right to the Gaylord Palms. That's when a series of random acts of kindness began.

First -- the taxi driver who took me from the hotel to the conference center turned out to be a fellow PK (pastor's kid) and Detroit-area native. He was SO kind, and offered me an ice cold bottle of water after I waited outside for quite a bit for a taxi. After the 20 or so minute ride full of great conversation, he gave me his business card and offered to take me back to the airport tomorrow morning. He set up the time and wrote it in his notes right away, not caring he would have to pick me up at 6 a.m. When I called him to confirm, he remembered me by my full name -- and even remembered my husband had his first day at his new job the day before, and asked how it went! A RANDOM cab driver cared enough to remember that and ask me -- I was touched!

Second -- After a long, I finally got to my hotel and my room wasn't ready. The poor manager must frequently deal with angered guests (come on people, you're here to go to Disney World!) and comped me a glass of wine while I waited and had the "bellman" instantly get my bag and store it for me so I could relax. About 10 minutes later, he offered me a different room, comped my breakfast for the next two days and waived my resort fees -- all while being super apologetic about the whole thing, which I repeatedly said was no big deal!

Third -- I was up early Wednesday morning to get work done before the 8 a.m. keynote speech back at the resort (which was amazing, by the way! Look for a future blog post on that!). I arrived about 15 minutes late, and asked one of the staff members if there was any food still available. He said no, but promptly offered to go make me a bagel. So he did! In the staff area -- meant for staff! He had me take a seat in a comfy chair, and reappeared a few minutes later with a perfectly toasted bagel with two kinds of jam and cream cheese, carried it over to a different comfy chair for me -- with coffee -- and said enjoy, then disappeared as quickly as he first appeared.

Then, of course, I got to meet many of YOU during the rest of my time! From stealing a menu from another table who happened to be fellow Michiganders, to seeing people I've already had the privilege of meeting during my two short months in the industry, it was a great few days in sunny Florida! I hope you all enjoyed and got as much out of Contractor Connection as I did -- and hope you remember how far a small act of kindness can go.