You know the feeling; you’re on a train, its warm, cramped and the train is running late. It’s OK, you have a book actually, you’re rapidly getting through book as the train is so slow.
Then you start to feel a weight on one side. Cue uncomfortable shuffling as you try to reclaim your space. Comfortable again you a carry on reading and there it is again, weight on your arm and gentle breath on your arm… as the person besides you is reading, not-so-subtly over your shoulder.
This was me last month, on a Tube in London. Every time I turned the page I could see the gentleman next to me desperately trying to read the last few words as flipped the page. There was nothing weird or creepy in his action, he was genuinely, as absorbed in my book as I was.
I adore books, the knowledge and the escapism I get from them is like no other experience to me. Books are valuable to me, but on that train I made a decision.
As I worked my way through the book, a brilliant book by Robin Waite, Business Marketing Secrets (no plug – just loved it!) I took photos of the information nuggets from the pages with my phone. This is not my normal practice; reference books for me are living documents, full of page markers and notes – golden pieces I can come back to again and again.
Not this time, as I pull into my station, I turn the last page. I reached into my bag, placed my business card inside and turned the gentleman. “Take this book”, I said, ” read it well and do something good with the content. Make sure you contact the author too and tell him how you came about the book.”
In the very typical British way he tried to object, “I can’t possibly, it’s your book…”
“I know the value of this book, I want you to pay this forward. Enjoy and good luck.” With that I step off the train, absolutely glowing, feeling extremely righteous and brave. I had spoken to a stranger, on a London Tube, I had given away a book! None of these are small challenges for me.
The joy I felt at the moment I carried with me and still feel it now, it shaped my energy for the day, it lifted my soul. Giving something precious, like a book – pages of business knowledge to someone else filled my heart. One hundred percent worth it.
I could leave the story there, a little tale of giving. Until this morning when I got a message, from a ‘gentleman on a train’. Thanking me for the book, which gave him the courage and knowledge to start a business, teaching children. This business is still in its infancy but I look forward to seeing his business grow and thrive. This reminds me, how our every action has ripple effects, further than we could ever know.
Giving to give changed my life, I know it will change many others also.