by Kerry C. O’Hallaron

Picture this.

I left warm, sunny Florida for three days of business meetings in New York. Mr. Laid Back, Mr. Flip Flops, Mr. Cool-calm-and-collected, Mr. Slow Pace, spends three days working non-stop in a very cold Manhattan.  What could possibly go wrong?

I should start by telling you I take great pride in being a low maintenance guy.  My beautiful wife never yells at me.  The police never have a reason to pull me over.  I never send food back at a restaurant.  I just don’t like being a bother to other people.

So listen to this short story, and tell me how that all worked out for me.

After two days of meetings, on our second night, my colleague Bob and I took our new consulting clients out to a very nice dinner at Del Frisco’s Steak House.  It’s technically Bob’s client; I was just there to look pretty and help him out. They brought four very nice people to dine with Bob and me.

When we got there, I was mighty chilly even indoors with my coat on.  Apparently when in New York, one checks one’s coat at the coat check.  I did not do that, because I wanted to stay warm.  I wore it until all of our guests had arrived and we were seated; then I neatly put it over the back of my chair and stuffed my nice ski gloves into the sleeve.

About two thirds of the way through dinner, I accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on my light tan coat.  Now, before you wonder if I spilled the red wine because I’d drank too much of it, I was actually drinking a very fine recent vintage double Diet Coke.  Spilling the wine was just an accident.

I did my best to clean up the mess.  The wine was only on my coat and my chair, so I was able to wipe it up a bit without disrupting my guests.  That’s when I discovered my ski gloves were missing! No, our guests didn’t steal them.  We were sitting on a mezzanine level, and they had apparently fallen out of my sleeve, through a gap in the railing, and down to the lower level of the restaurant.

No problem.  I simply asked Chris, our waiter, if he could run down there and take a look.  Chris knew that Bob and I would be responsible for his tip, so he was more than glad to help.  Unfortunately, he could not find them.  They had not been turned in, and were nowhere to be seen.  Chris kindly gave me his cell number and told me to text him later to see if they’d turned up.

After dinner, we parted company with our guests.  Bob and I walked ten blocks to our hotel in bitterly cold weather.  His hands were warm.  Mine were cold.

About my bedtime, I texted Chris.  No response.  I wasn’t surprised; he was very busy. However, about 2:00 a.m. he texted me to let me know he’d found them.  He even sent a picture.  Of course, I was in bed at that time, and he was likely to be in bed when I was able to reply.

I did reply about 8:00, asking how I could pick them up.  There was no response, as he was indeed sleeping.  Fortunately, the restaurant opened for lunch at 11, and Bob and I had time to stop by there before leaving for home.

At 11:00 sharp we walked in.  I smiled and put my “lost puppy” look on at the same time.  I explained the situation.  The manager looked everywhere and could not find the gloves.  Fortunately, she was able to contact Chris.  He had put the gloves in his personal locker, and locked it, before going home to bed!  Safekeeping, mind you.

He gave the manager the combination to the safe; she opened it; and there they were!  I was a happy guy. Bob held my briefcase, which contained my laptop, personal car keys, and other important items, while I put on the gloves. Then we left and walked back to the hotel.  Both of our hands were warm this time.

When we got to the hotel, I said, “Bob, where is my briefcase?”

“I gave it to you back at the restaurant,” he replied.

I don’t remember him giving it back to me, but based on my track record thus far I had to assume it was my mistake – again! I must have failed to pick up the briefcase when we left for the hotel.

I called the restaurant, put on my “lost puppy dog” voice, told them that I was the guy with the gloves but now without my briefcase.  Yes, they did have it and would be glad to hold it for me.

It was time to head home to Florida, so we got all of our things together, including my gloves but not including the briefcase – which was, of course, at the restaurant.  We caught a cab, told the driver we were going to the airport but that we needed him to stop at the restaurant for a few minutes.

When we got there – surprise – there was no parking.  The cabbie told me to get out and he would double park down the block a little.  I walked towards the restaurant, and he drove down the street to double park.  Suddenly I hear Bob screaming my name from the cab. “Kerry! You lost your gloves! You lost your gloves!”

“No, that was last night,” I screamed back.  “My gloves are in the cab. This time I lost my briefcase.”

“You lost your gloves!” he screamed again.  They’re on the street.”

Sure enough, on one of the busiest streets in the United States, there were my gloves about to get run over by a car. They must have fallen out of my cab when I got out.  I persuaded several cars to avoid them, lurched into the street to grab them, and jumped back on the sidewalk in one piece.

Then I calmly marched into the restaurant with gloves in hand, put on my best chagrined smile and retrieved my briefcase.  I promised my new friends I’d see them on my next trip back, and then walked back out to my cab, briefcase in hand and gloves clipped to my coat.

I’m not sure if it was the cold weather or my scatterbrained colleague that caused me to come unglued, first with the wine, then with the gloves, then with the briefcase, and then again with the gloves.  Four hours later I was back in sunny Florida, not missing a thing I had taken to New York, and no worse for wear. The coat miraculously came clean; I have my gloves for the next trip, and I didn’t have to buy a new laptop.

However, next time I will check my coat.

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Kerry O’Hallaron is an author, speaker, trainer, and successful business executive. His latest book is People Skills 101-tm: How to Have More Friends, Fewer Conflicts and Better Relationships.  In its recent launch, it catapulted to #1 in the Self Development category.  It’s been called a life-changing twist on Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic. You can buy it today in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/People-Skills-101-Conflicts-Relationships-ebook/dp/B07KXDBMX8

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