On Dec. 14, 2013 , my boyfriend and I were waiting in New York's Penn Station for a 8:11 NJ Transit train back to Orange, New Jersey.
Penn Station was flooded with Santas. Lots of drunken Santas. There was a huge Santacon event in NYC that day -- hence all the drunken (borderline alcoholic) Santa commotion.
We were minding our business when the unexpected happened: Batman walked up to us waving a NJ Transit ticket in his hand.
Yes, I said it right. Batman walked up to us waving a NJ Transit ticket in his hand. However, Batman was drunk out of his mind. We asked him, "Where are you going?" He smiled and then muttered something incomprehensible. He started babbling and waved his hands around. He then told us his name was Bob.
We could have walked away, but we didn't.
I took his ticket from him and noticed that it said "MSU." After talking to the ticket agents and checking the train board, we realized there were no trains going to MSU that night. We tried talking to Bob (aka Batman) again. We asked him questions such as "Where do you live?" "Who were you with?" "Where were you coming from?" We tried deciphering his drunken responses, but he wasn't really giving us any solid information. He told us he wanted to go to Montclair. He was very adamant about going there. In hindsight, we probably should have taken him to a NJ Transit police officer, but we didn't... and so our story continues.
It turns out to get to Montclair Bob would have to get on the same train as us. (Fate?) We had no problem adopting Bob for the train ride so he followed us on to the train. Bob was overjoyed that we were helping him.
On the train, we tried asking Bob some more questions about who he was with at Santacon. He told us he had came with his best friend Harold. We got his cell phone and called Harold, but no one answered. He then told us to call Harold's girlfriend, "Jacko." Jackie, which was her real name, picked up. She sounded very drunk herself. We were able to gather from her that Harold, too, was missing. She wanted us to ask Bob if he was going to "Delawana" (????). We, nor Bob, had any clue what Delewana was. We gave Bob the phone. He said, "Hey, Ejaculation." She hung up. So much for that.
Sidenote: Drunk people can be extremely honest (and hilarious). Bob explained to us that he called Harold's girlfriend "Jacko" because he liked to joke around and call her "ejaculation." We're guessing Jackie doesn't like to be called that.
With no more ways to get more information about Bob -- and with the train stop where Bob would need to change trains to get to Montclair approaching -- I decided to write Bob a note to carry with him on the train. It read:
I'm trying to go to Montclair.
Please help me.
We armed Bob with this note. He thanked us greatly and gave us a big high five. He also high fived the woman he was sitting next to, the couple opposite him, and a whole lot more people on his way off the train. We watched as he walked across the platform to the Montclair train.
That was the last time I ever saw Bob, the drunken Batman.
You're probably wondering, SO HOW THE HELL DOES THIS STORY RELATE TO BEING EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL?
It relates. Trust me. Here's how:
1. Success is all about building short-term and long-term relationships. My relationship with Bob was extremely short-term. Within the 40 minutes we were together, we built trust. I learned a few things about him, and he learned a few things about us. If you can cultivate relationships so that both parties feel comfortable and trust you, you are on your way to success. You can apply this ability to form relationships to any career and any life situation. I went into helping Bob because I saw him as a short-term relationship that merited my active participation.
2. Helping others get you far in life. The crux of this story is that my boyfriend and I decided to help Bob. We didn't have to. We probably didn't help him in the best way possible, but the fact is that we made an active effort to help him. Bob probably won't remember us, but that's not the point. People will notice that you are a helper. They will appreciate you. They will vouch for you ( I like this word "vouch" -- read another article where I talk about the importance of someone "vouching for you" here.)
3. The extremely successful know how to solve problems. In life, you will need to learn how to solve problems. My problem that night was, "How do we help Bob?" The solution we came up with was making sure he got on the Montclair train. Along the way, we troubleshooted. We checked his phone. We called his friends. If you can translate problems into answers (and the right ones, at that) you are on your way to being the Man or the Woman of the Year.
4. Learning how to communicate can NEVER hurt you. I'm talking about more than just written communication. To be successful or to be a leader, or anything else like it, you must learn how to understand, be empathetic, and listen. That night I had to practice all those skills with Bob, the drunk Batman. He tested me, at some points. I had to repeat my self a lot and ask him the same questions over and over and over, but I was committed to making sure he understood me and I understood him. When aiming for success, your great communication skills (beyond the written) will be become your most-used asset.
5. Gut Reaction & Intuition Matters. We didn't hesitate when Bob approached us for help. Something within my boyfriend and me caused us to react right away. Sometimes in life, we may be approached with an opportunity, or a problem, and must decide whether to dismiss or accept it. Listen to your gut reaction and to what your intuition is telling you. Listening to oneself and understanding the inner voice within you is a key factor to being successful. It's the first sign that you trust yourself. If you don't trust yourself, who will?
Read more stories like this at ranacampbell.com