This couldn't be right.
I ran our Jays tickets through the scanner again, but the message was the same: DECLINED. Written in big red letters so as to accurately convey the seriousness of the situation.
I felt the blood rushing to my face. The people behind us started to mutter with impatience. Okay. Stay calm, Heidi. Third time's the charm, I thought as I tried again.
DECLINED. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I squinted at the letters as if that would somehow change them.
Blushing, I handed my tickets to the stadium employee. As she examined them, I still felt some hope that this would all work out. But when she looked up and met my eyes, I knew this was not going to be the case.
"Sorry Ma'am, but these tickets were for last night's game," she said, pointing to the date at the bottom of the ticket.
"They can't be!" I gasped, mortified.
But they were, my husband informed me, as he looked them over himself.
Sheer embarrassment seized my insides, and I suddenly found myself lost in a storm of self-loathing thoughts. What was wrong with me? How could I have made this mistake? Why hadn't I double checked the dates? I have ruined our night!
But then, as if whispered in my ear by an angel, a quote from one of my most beloved books leapt out at me.
"A mistake is only a mistake if you repeat it. The first time, it's nothing more than a beautiful lesson."
A calm feeling washed over me. Thanks, Robin Sharma.
I snapped out of the trance I was in and realized that Mike was trying to get my attention.
"What do you want to do?" he asked.
With a giant smile on my face I said, "I want to see the game. Let's go to the ticket window and buy some new tickets."
"Let's do it," he exclaimed without missing a beat.
As we were standing in the ticket line, I realized that I really did learn a valuable lesson just then. The old Heidi would have spent countless hours analyzing the screw up, beating herself up, nurturing all the disappointment, resentment, and guilt inside of her.
But now I knew that holding on to something that I couldn't change would only drag me down. Letting go of a mistake and moving on felt amazing. It was freeing.
Then something kind of crazy happened.
"Are you looking for tickets?" a woman's voice asked from behind me.
I turned to her and said, "We are. Why are you selling them?"
"I was trying to sell them, but a few minutes ago I decided to pay it forward and find two people I felt who deserved them. I don't know what it is about the two of you, but you have such a great energy I would like to give you my extra tickets," she explained.
"What!!! Are you kidding me? You want to give us FREE tickets?"
"Yes I do!"
I was so shocked and amazed I actually reached out and hugged this very generous stranger. Startled, she started laughing and gushed that she never expected anyone to react the way I did. She was dumbfounded by my appreciation.
Once we entered the game, we told our bighearted new friend what had happened with our tickets. She was stunned. We all agreed it was a miraculous moment.
While watching the game, I couldn't help but reflect on what had just happened. Letting go of my mistake had resulted in one of the most memorable moments of generosity I have ever experienced.
Lessons and signs are all around us every day. We can choose to ignore them or we can choose to listen and learn.
I'm truly grateful I listened on Friday night. This was one lesson and experience I will treasure forever.
The Blue Jays were victorious that day, but in the end, I felt like I was the real winner.
Written by Heidi Allen - Positive People Army Founder
P.S. I would like to dedicate this story to Paulyne. I am forever grateful for your generosity and our new friendship.
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