The following story is told in the introduction of the e-book How to Engineer Your Layoff. I am reprinting it because it serves as a powerful example of how simple, kind gestures can reap tremendous rewards (both relationally and financially). I'll talk more about this topic in future posts, but for now I just want to share the story of a generous lady who made a simple invitation and saved herself $1,200 a year!
Before I could hit send on an email to my tenant informing her I was raising her rent, an e-mail from her unexpectedly popped up in my inbox. Lucy asked me whether I’d like to be one of her VIP guests to opening night at the opera. As a member of the Board, Lucy could invite whomever she desired.
I am neither handsome nor famous, but for some reason, she chose me. As a VIP, I would get to attend a pre-party with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. During the pre-party, we’d have the privilege of mingling with the performers and participate in their pre-performance warm-up routines for fun. I don’t know the first thing about opera, but I happily accepted her invitation to learn more about the art.
Because of the invitation, I decided not to raise Lucy’s rent from $3,300 to $3,400 a month. Despite an absolutely blazing rental market in San Francisco, where similar apartments go for over $3,500 a month, I couldn’t find it in my heart to raise the rent after her thoughtful gesture. No wonder property managers are hired to deal with tenants. Attending the opera for one night effectively cost me $1,200 a year! However, this experience strengthened the relationship I have with my tenant and also opened up a whole new network of people into my life.
Lucy doesn’t know that I was going to raise her rent, but she came out a winner with $1,200 still in her pocket just by reaching out and building a connection with me. The more you learn how to build lasting relationships, the greater rewards you will experience in your career, family, and personal life.