One Hundred Big Ones
In 1994, our psychometric assessment partners, Art Niemann & Co, invited me to work as one of their team on their ‘booth’ (or ‘stand’ as we say) at the famous and extravagant ‘NADA’ (National Automotive Dealer Association) convention.
I was also invited to ski with them the week before in Deer Valley.
The convention was to be held in Las Vegas.
I thought about it for one third of a second, and said ‘well ok then, if you insist’.
It was obviously going to be a tough couple of weeks, but I was ok with it; this kind of sacrifice comes with the territory.
On the first day in Vegas, it became obvious to me that my English accent, boyish (I was 34) smile, boundless energy and eagerness to make new friends were going to be cards we should play to attract and welcome visitors to our stand; in summary, ‘excuse him, he’s from England, and no, he does NOT know the Queen.’
These cards worked well, there were few others, if any, from the Mother Country at all, and so I became quite an attraction!
On day two, a valued client, we’ll call him Gary, dropped by to say hello, and I introduced myself, shooting him my best smile and enthusiastic English greeting.
He was intrigued and we struck up a humorous conversation.
My host, Art, came over to greet him and Gary explained that he had had a rough night ‘losing on the tables’.
His demeanour changed for the worse I noticed.
‘How much did you lose, Gary?’ I asked.
‘A hundred big ones!’ he replied, sadly.
‘Only a hundred?’ I admonished.
‘Don’t be such a baby! Get back out there tonight, win it all back, then win some more, and be back here tomorrow to report in with the good news. Oh, and if you lose it, I’ll cover it all!’ I ordered him.
‘You’re right, Mike’ said Gary ‘Shame on me; I needed that. I will!’
Art looked at me as Gary left as if to say ‘thanks, Mike! That was brave of you, giving MY client permission to lose his shirt and blame us!’ and ‘I hope you’re good for those hundred big ones!’
By the following day, I had completely forgotten about Gary.
By then, I had made at least a hundred more friends on our booth and on the town in the evening, so was having the time of my life, giving out smiles and business cards with equal abandon.
I could never remember having been so popular and having so much fun.
Next minute, I was in a bear hug from behind.
‘Michael!’ this voice screamed in my ear.
‘Michael my boy! I did it! I won it all back, and ANOTHER hundred and fifty big ones on top! You are my lucky charm. That was my single best night ever. Tonight, you and your friends are out on the town on me! Carl here, my chauffeur, will pick you up at your hotel in my stretch limo and it’s yours for the night with as much beer and champagne as you can drink!’
‘Wow thanks Gary!’ I replied, slightly confused, yet as always, willing to take whatever credit was given, especially if it included booze and a limo.
‘That surely has to cost Gary more than the two hundred and fifty dollars he won!’ I said to my host, Art, as Gary danced off.
‘What?’ laughed Art. ‘$250? You think he won $250?’
‘Well, yes, “big ones” he said yesterday’ I replied.
‘Yes!’ said Art. ‘Two hundred and fifty THOUSAND dollars, you idiot! Gary won $250,000 last night because you told him to!’
I almost fainted.
Had I known those were the amounts involved I would have told him he was a naughty boy and should go home immediately!
The limo arrived, as promised.
The whole team partied hard the whole night on Carl’s expenses, and I avoided Gary for the rest of the week in case my luck ran out!
About The Author – Michael Finnigan
Michael Finnigan works with the world’s most famous businesses, helping them to understand how to unleash the power lying dormant within their people. Michael consults with corporate, public sector and sporting clients all over the world to lead and deliver positive change.
Michael’s work within elite sport includes clients in Premier League football, international cricket. He worked closely with Darren Clarke ahead of his victory at the Open Championship.
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