Back to the DR – New Friends
So, I decided that six full days in the Dominican Republic created way too much content in my little brain to dump out in one blog entry. Not to mention, as the meme (from the amusing news story) goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 🙂
So I am going to share a few stories with you individually. Maybe I’ll compile them over time – maybe not – we’ll see.
The first story I want to share is probably the most powerful, in my opinion. It involves a couple that we met and had short-term implications on the trip, but I think will have huge implications for all of us long-term – all positive ones.
The couple we met (Lynda and Alan) were on a “surprise” trip (he planned it) following some challenging health issues with their daughter. It was time to get away for a few days. He told her to pack a bathing suit, warm clothes, and a passport – and off they went.
Here are the “events” leading up to our connection:
- I rescheduled our trip at least twice, maybe a third time, I don’t recall
- They missed their first two flights to Miami (where we were both connecting)
- He decided to fly jump seat (he works for the airline) so someone else could get a seat (VERY nice of him) and she ended up in the exit row between Derek and I
I wanted to paint that picture of “coincidence” before I go further.
I am not sure who mentioned it, but somehow she caught wind that we were on a “mission trip”. She brought that up and come to find out she has done a few out-of-country trips before, but hasn’t in a few years. Her husband has never done anything like that. Also turns out that she does a LOT of work with non-profits, primarily churches – accounting/finance is her specialty.
Mission trips, non-profit, church work – hmmmmm…more “coincidence”? Seems I know someone else like that pretty well. 🙂
After a couple hours in the airplane, I find out that they have not arranged any transportation to their resort. Having been to the DR before, I know that it’s not quite like catching a cab at your typical US airport. With that information and her clear passion around non-profits, I figure she needs to at least meet Liz (Dove’s founder) and maybe get a card. Primarily I wanted Liz to at least point her in the right direction as far as transportation so they don’t end up overpaying or feeling too uncomfortable.
I met her husband on the way out of the airplane – great guy. We walked down to Passport Control together and then out to introduce Liz and get them a ride.
Liz, of course, greets them with a big hug and in very typical Liz fashion, offers them a free ride to their resort since we are going that way anyway. Gotta love that about Liz!
I was in front, so didn’t hear all of the conversation, but by the end of that ride, they were going to reach out about possibly visiting the club on Saturday. Oh yeah, and again in typical Liz fashion, she GIVES them her WiFi device to make sure they had connectivity while they were down there. God bless Liz and her endless generosity.
Lynda and I spoke about that on the beach later. Her comment about Liz handing over her WiFi stuff to someone she has known for only 30 minutes was “Who Does That!?” Totally understood there and if I hadn’t known Liz for a little while, I would have been shocked as well. But I reminded her that I introduced them and am a pretty good read of people, so that helped, but Liz is an ever better read of people. And with Lynda and Alan, “good people” is about the only read you can possibly get. So no disrespect to Liz, but it was a “layup” for her to figure out they were good people. 🙂
So Lynda and Alan are dropped off, and as further evidence of the goodness that I mentioned, in return for the ride, they gave Liz a very generous donation. Another entry in the positive Karma column for them.
So that was Wednesday, and they came up in a conversation with Liz on Friday when she said that Alan and Lynda were confirmed to come by the Club Saturday AM. BIG smile on my face as I know with the very short trip that they had planned to “get away”, committing at least a half day with us was significant. So another positive Karma entry for them.
They came on Saturday, as scheduled, and I think I was working on the rooftop, so didn’t get to see them all that much, but I did say Hello and was super happy they were there.
The plan that day was work in the morning, then help chaperone the kids on a trip to lunch and then the Kite Club in Cabarete, about an hour drive from the Club. This is where they do international kite surfing competitions. As we were starting to get things organized to head on the short trip, Lynda asked what we were up to, we explained, Liz invited them, and BOOM, they were “in” for the trip. So now they are committing most of a day with us, more positive Karma entries.
What I thought was super cool though, was that they chose to ride in the bus with the kids. Some of us took the Dove van, but they chose to hang with the kids. Man are they racking up the positive Karma points! I told you they were good people! 🙂
So we spend a couple hours on the beach chatting about everything from Dove, the kids, the DR, challenging situations with our own kids, religion, etc. Pretty deep stuff for a Saturday afternoon discussion in the Dominican Republic.
We had a great time and then back to Puerto Plata. Jahiro, our driver and all around great guy, was going to drop them off at their resort on the way back, so it was easier.
Again, I sat in front, so wasn’t privy to all of the conversations that happened in the drive back, but when they stepped out of the van, there were tears, big hugs, and it was like two of our family members were leaving. Pretty amazing considering that including the flight, I think we had spent a grand total of maybe 8 hours together.
Turns out that poor Alan got sick Saturday night, had a pretty rough travel day Sunday, and as of this writing, is recovering at home. Very sorry to hear that, but I’m told that it did not dampen their spirits of the great trip they had.
So if I recap:
- My two trip schedule changes
- Their two missed flights and seat change
- Non-profit, mission, and Christian background
- Liz offers ride and WiFi device
- Club visit and beach trip with kids
I believe in my heart, that God arranged this meeting and that all of us will be better for it. There are way too many “coincidences” here to believe otherwise. I am truly thankful for the connection and new friends, and look forward to where it all goes.
Thank you Alan and Lynda for spending so much of our precious vacation time with us. We were blessed by your presence and I hope you got as much out of the experience as we did.
OK folks – that was a bit longer than planned – but there was so much to say about it. My other DR stories will be shorter (maybe).
(And, of course, share this story if you truly love me)