Working as project managers Daniel and I have spent a lot of time driving around the Bay Area. We regularly meet people from all over the place– from all sorts of backgrounds, with all sorts of stories. Sometimes clients have stories that make us smile, and sometimes the stories our clients share are incredibly sad.
In our last year working as project managers, we met with a man who had been diagnosed with ALS. His mobility had already started to deteriorate and he needed a solution quickly to make his bathroom accessible as his condition worsened. We sat, we discussed budget, we discussed the importance of timing, and we talked through all of the best and worst case scenarios to make sure the project would deliver maximum value.
As project managers, we learned that in order to do our job well we sometimes needed to be much more than experts in construction and design. To sit with someone, to understand from their perspective what it will mean to feel at home in their final days on this earth is a difficult thing to do– particularly with a stranger. It requires empathy and love and honesty.
So here we are, he does not have the money for the project he really needs. We are talking about ways to cut costs running ourselves around in circles trying to find a solution that will work. For us, it was not a big project, but after all the horror stories we’d heard about unreliable contractors we didn’t want to risk him getting stuck dealing with anything more than he’d already been faced with. But we reached a stalemate, and the project was just too much for him to handle with so many uncertainties to come.
I walked out of the meeting defeated. Daniel was defeated too. We talked on the phone all the way home, sharing how sorry we felt that we couldn’t help him. Unfortunately, it was not the first time we’d been in this position.
And it wasn’t just clients who seemed to need our help– especially now. It is the ones we pass on the street on the way to our next appointment, no longer with a home to call their own. How many times we’ve stopped at a red light, locking eyes with someone holding a sign reading, “Anything Helps”. Looking around the car for an old granola bar or a stray dollar– anything we might have to help.
Finally, we’d had enough and it was time to at least try to do something good for someone who might need a little help. So we went to Costco and bought as many toiletries and snacks as we thought we’d be able to fit in the car and we went home and filled 100 bags with Gatorade and soap and granola bars and toothpaste and anything else we thought we wouldn’t be able to go a day without and we loaded up the car to hand them out around town. We were sad to see how easy it was to hand out 100 bags to people in need…
Now, we will never really know what kind of impact we made handing out these bags. We hope we were able to just make someone’s day a little easier, and we hope as we grow our company that we are able to positively impact our community and bring some Harmony to those living in discord.