Scott and I owned our own business in Pennsylvania. I was in charge of sales. At eight and a half months pregnant, I scheduled a sales call against my better judgment. I probably should have stayed home that day. I have my mom’s work ethic, so I drove an hour away to call on this customer anyway.
The offices were on the second floor. I lugged my forty-pound stomach up the twisting stairs and arrived panting. The receptionist was very sweet. Her expression was pure shock. “Oh my! Look at you!” She must have thought that I was about to explode any second. She rushed to get me a glass of water. I relaxed, sank into the leather sofa, and took deep breaths.
Within a few minutes, a small-framed man entered the waiting room and introduced himself as Joe Forester. He made me feel at ease right away. He was exceptionally pleasant and had a warm smile. “Let’s go back to my office,” he said.
I gathered my purse and sales binder. “Great, let’s go!” I said eagerly. I leaned forward and realized that I was stuck in the sofa. I tried a few more lunges forward, but my baby bump was so large, I couldn’t get any leverage. I had become part of the sofa. With all the lunging, I’d awoken the sleeping giant in my belly. He started kicking and stretching. My doctor had warned me to call immediately when labor started because I had one large baby in there over ten pounds at birth. My belly was so tight that you couldn’t miss the bumps from his gymnastics.
I was so embarrassed! I could feel the tears starting. One hundred and fifty pound Joe, gave me his hand, and braced himself for my weight.
On the first try, he gave a mighty heave. I rose up an inch and fell back, pulling Joe on top of me in a tangle. With a flustered look on his face, he righted himself, and braced again. On the second try, we met in the middle, and I raised a foot off the sofa, but I still could not budge. He was ready for me falling back and managed to keep his feet. On the third try, I was vertical!
Belly in full motion now, we walked to his office. I leaned on a filing cabinet, afraid to take a seat as he suggested. I stood there, blowing puffs at my sweaty bangs. Unlike my bambino, I was not interested in any type of exertion, let alone gymnastics. Finally, things settled down in the mid-section.
I got the account! Joe walked with me as I waddled happily out of his office and back down the winding stairs.
Over the years, we often laughed about that day. “You know, you definitely made a lasting impression.” Over many lunches, we’d embellish the story to the point where we’d be in hysterics. I was so sorry when he passed. He was my favorite customer for over thirty years.
Sometimes you don’t need to be perfectly professional. You just have to be real… and that’s good enough.