I was lucky enough to receive a free trip to San Francisco from Klout and Virgin America, due to my influence on Twitter. This in and of itself was flattering, because for me it meant that there was some value to what I was contributing to the conversation on Twitter.
I was on the fence about taking the trip, for a number of reasons. I had to rearrange my work schedule; Lots of others were coming at other times; I already had my vacation for the summer planned and paid for later in August. I decided in-spite of all of that to still jump at the opportunity and claim my ticket.
From the moment I arrived at Pearson Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, I encountered nothing but friendly people. The check-in staff for Virgin America was busy, but they were friendly and doing what they could to keep the lines moving. I met a fellow “Klouter” in the departure area and had a great chat about food and San Francisco. Erin (who is apparently getting engaged – congrats!!) and Deb on the flight crew were friendly and cheerful during our flight. They took the time to talk about air travel and how much they like working for Virgin while I was stretching my legs and having a coffee!! They did everything they could to make sure that our flight was great!!
When I arrived in San Francisco, getting to my hotel was easy and efficient thanks to BART (their rapid transit system). I dashed off to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants and got into line for a ticket the ballgame. Two scalpers were doing their best high pressure sales tactic on me when a fan walked up to the line, right beside me and said, “Who needs a single ticket for free”? After a quick, “I’ll take it for free”, I was on my way to a Club level seat in the ballpark, still not believing how my day was going!! The fan that gave me a ticket wouldn’t even let me buy them a beer!! I am forever thankful to them and their co-workers for their generosity!!
When I got back to my hotel, I got checked in and discovered that I had a fantastic room at the Harbor Court Hotel, that is right on the bay in San Francisco. The view from my room is fantastic and I couldn’t ask for more. For being part of their “member” program I was given a mini-bar credit and for mentioning a “codeword” promo that they had mentioned on Twitter, I received a secondary credit!!
My day didn’t end there, but what more could you ask for in less that 24 hours!?! This trip has restored my belief that all people at their core are willing to help their neighbours. Sometimes you encounter so many angry and frustrated people, you begin to wonder why everyone is so angry. I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I took this trip!!
The world is a much better place when the attitude you are shining out gets shone back at you. I am not sure if it was the positive attitude of those I encountered that caused me to smile back at others. I hope that it was my smile and “Hello” that maybe changed their attitude towards me. I don’t know and I guess it dosen’t matter. What does matter is that there were people on the planet all working at being kind to each other on July 29 in Canada and the United States. My hope is that my story was repeated in other ways in other cities around the planet as well!! What more can you ask for??