Sometimes you don’t know the power of a decision when you first make it, or how many people it will affect as you move through life.
Years ago, I forget how many, I had a small problem. I had a debit card and a credit card from two completely different entities, but they looked identical.
Clearly, this was going to be very confusing for me, being a very visual person, and I didn’t want to be continually grabbing the wrong card to use during a business transaction.
I had to come up with a solution.
Somehow, probably through my children, I had acquired a set of sticker sheets with SpongeBob’s face on them, in a myriad of expressions. Their pure silliness and innocence made me smile every time I looked at them. After all, SpongeBob is the epitome of silliness and innocence.
I had always loved watching the show with my kids. SpongeBob was always funny and yet sweet and polite, even when his friend Patrick was super dumb, or when his crabby neighbor Squidward was very rude to him, which was pretty much always.
“That’s it!” I thought, and decided to put some of the stickers on my credit card, so I would know I was using the proper card.
Little did I know how many people would end up being affected by that simple decision that day.
In time, I forgot about the stickers on my card. Then one day when I went to use it, pulled it out and handed it to the person at the drive-thru, and a moment passed as a smile crossed their face.
“I love your SpongeBob stickers!” they said. And remembering, I laughed and said thank you.
And that was the beginning of a beautiful thing. Over the years, many people, sometimes the mostly unlikely of people, would comment on my SpongeBob stickers. Sometimes people would just look, and not comment at all. It seemed like when I was hoping for it, it wouldn’t happen, but if I wasn’t thinking about it, the best comments would happen.
And then I took a trip with my card.
I went to Mexico with a friend, and as we were booking a local jeep tour at the guest desk in our hotel lobby, I was trying hard to use my very broken and unpracticed Spanish to very little avail with a gentleman who had just about the same amount of practice at English. We seemed to have come to an agreement about what I wanted, and as I handed him my credit card, a big smile burst across his face as he exclaimed in a loud voice, “SPONGBOB!!!”
It was an awesome moment of levity. We had a good laugh, and then he began to tell us all about how much his son loved SpongeBob and how much he enjoyed watching it with his son. I was delighted that SpongeBob had crossed cultural lines and was our common denominator! I immediately felt very welcome and right at home, even though the language barrier was technically still there.
For the rest of my time in Mexico, every time I passed the guest desk, my new friend would smile at me and wave enthusiastically. All because of good old SpongeBob!
That was more than a few years ago, and I still keep the stickers on my credit card, even though it no longer has the same design as my debit card. In fact, they’ve actually worn out many times over the years and I’ve kept replacing them with new ones.
It’s brought so many smiles to so many faces over the years, I don’t think I’ll ever stop… unless I run out of stickers.