It’s easy to feel deflated and give up when things aren’t going the way you expected. But for Rikki Kahley, a 24-year-old from Macon, Georgia, a change in plans proved to be the perfect opportunity to give back to those in need.
Kahley planned a bachelorette trip to Nassau, Bahamas, before her October wedding. But after Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest Caribbean disasters on record, caused mass destruction on the island, she decided she would cancel her vacation, People reports.
After calling the resort and hearing the plea of the woman on the phone — “Please don’t cancel, we need your tourism” — she had another change of heart. Kahley decided the show (or bachelorette trip) would go on, but with an unexpected twist. According to CNN, Kahley’s younger sister, Chloe, came up with the idea to transform the getaway into mission trip to help those affected by the hurricane.
“[Chloe] has a servant’s heart and is always jumping at the opportunity to help other people,” Rikki Kahley told CNN. “So, we thought it was a good idea and made all the phone calls to get it coordinated.” They also led a social media campaign that resulted in an abundance of relief supplies.
Before long, Kahley and her crew had 37 suitcases filled with clothing, food, baby supplies, and walter filtration tools, among other necessities, CNN reports. And when the bachelorette party set out for their trip on September 12, their altruism was met with even more acts of kindness; Delta Airlines waived the fees for their extra luggage, and the resort sent a bus to pick up the group and bring them to a church to distribute the donations.
“Our experience was great. We enjoyed all the Bahamian people we encountered, heard lots of stories about their families and how the hurricane impacted them,” Kahley told CNN. “We wanted to take a boat to the affected islands or meet some of the people. But we were advised it wasn’t a good idea, as it was still under search-and-rescue and they are still settling in at their temporary accommodations.”
Kahley’s bachelorette trip turned relief effort is a powerful reminder that diversions don’t always need to become detriments — in fact, unexpected changes can often serve as an opportunity to try something new that makes us (or others) stronger in the long run. What’s more, giving is an incredible form of self-care — one that can increase our sense of time affluence, happiness, and connections with others. So, the next time you’re faced with a turn of events, don’t let the situation bog you down. Instead, bounce back and look for a way you can give back or respond to your new circumstances with compassion.
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