Finding Hope at Pike & Rose

by Rob Clark

The relatively new community at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland delivers a little city to the suburbs.  A touch of Santa Monica flair at the Summer House restaurant.  Some old school bowling at Pinstripes.  The best ice cream sandwiches in the world at Baked Bear.  And a feeling of perpetual summer, complete with sand, Corona, and tropical drinks at The Beach Bar.

So how could I resist stopping by for a cold one on my way home last Friday?

After a quick pit stop, I pulled out of the Pike & Rose parking garage toward the mechanical arm and the ticket dispenser. The weekend was waiting for me on the other side.  But there was one major unforeseen problem.  I couldn’t find my wallet!

As the cars piled up behind me and the stress mounted, I used all my persuasive sales skills to escape the garage with an I.O.U.  Once out, I retraced every inch of the community.  It wasn’t in the sand.  It wasn’t in the restaurant.  It wasn’t in the security office. My wallet, complete with credit cards, driver’s license and (very little) cash, had vanished into the thick DC air.

My carefree mood was quickly replaced with abject despair.  I now faced a nightmarish weekend dealing with the hassle of rebuilding my identity.  All hope was gone.

As I trudged back toward my car, a text popped across my screen.  It was the most glorious “ding” of all time.  It was from my son.

“Hey dad.  Someone just dropped off your wallet at our house. Looks like everything is there.”

What?  Boom!

Apparently a good Samaritan spied my wallet on the sidewalk and immediately raced to my home to return it.  No expectation of recognition.  No note.  Just benevolent action.

And that single act of kindness restored my hope in humanity and set my weekend on a trajectory of gratitude.

And couldn’t we all use that same restored hope and faith in humanity in our own lives?

We Can’t “Go Negative” at Work

Our workplace can be a rough landscape full of mines to navigate.  Our competition will take shots at us.  Our customers will waffle and abandon us.  Even our own colleagues will go on the offensive and attack our strategy.

We will question our own contribution to this world.  We will even question those we are trying to help. Do our students or players have any drive or mental toughness?  Does our office care about innovation or growth?  Do our customers and clients even want to advance their own business?

It is easy to “go negative” when we start to lose faith.  But even when times are the bleakest, we have to fight the temptation to find the worst in other people.  For every back-stabbing colleague, there is a teammate who will always have your back.  For every shark trying to steal your wallet, there is an unselfish good Samaritan who will move mountains to give your wallet back.

We Need to Keep Building Relationships

The same is true in our personal lives.  We may get burned by selfish behavior.  We may endure a series of bad experiences.  A friend or family member may fail to step up in a critical moment.  But that doesn’t mean we need to wall off the rest of humanity.

Yes, we need to be careful.  Yes, we need to protect ourselves.  But we can’t alienate the outside world and stop building new relationships.  There is too much goodness out there in the community.  For every selfish act of malevolence there is a selfless act of benevolence.

We have to keep looking.  We have to stay positive.  We have to maintain our faith and hope in humanity.

Search for the Best and You’ll Find It!

But we also have to be realistic.   We do not live in  bubble world.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Sometimes, people will go out of  their way to give us a raw deal.   Sometimes, people will steal our cash and throw our wallet in the trash.

But not every time.  Not everyone is against us in this world.

There are great teammates who will do anything to help us in our moment of need.  There are selfless colleagues who will always be loyal to us.  There are incredible family members who will step up at crunch time.  There are people we have never met who are decent andgood at their core.

If we search for the worst in people, we will find it.  So why keep searching?

It cost the same to be optimistic as it does to be pessimistic.  And optimism is liberating.” –Scott Van Pelt

We can’t be resilient without a little help.  If we are going to make it through our most difficult moments, we have to believe people will support us.    And there is no downside to maintaining our optimism and faith in humanity.

We live in a great big world full of big-hearted people.  One of them found my wallet at Pike & Rose.  And reminded me that hope and optimism is liberating.

Until next week, keep smiling.




Originally published June 25, 2018 on the Resilient Worker. Motivational  author and speaker Rob Clark has experienced the triumphs and temporary setbacks that accompany every career (both large and small!) along his remarkable journey in life. His latest motivational book, “Smiling in the Cube“, offers simple advice and perspective on how to overcome the daily frustrations of office life and focus on the incredible positives in your everyday life.  If you haven’t failed at something, you haven’t been trying hard enough!  But you must constantly move forward after a setback.  The world embraces the bold and the active.

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