I spent the first few weeks of 1993 looking, with little success, for employment in the sales field. I would wake up in the early morning thinking about what could be wrong, is it me, or is it just the times. There had been job offers but nothing I felt was worthwhile. Some prospective employers suggested I could make big commissions in no time, but all I could see was a depressed economy. Then I remembered a lesson from my past, when someone else saw only one possibility.
A quiet winter morning had cleared from an early rain to crisp blue skies. Main Street was nearly deserted and all of Disneyland had a fresh sparkling look. I was 21 years old and liked working in the Hallmark Card Store. The year was 1960, Disneyland had been open about five years and I felt very privileged to have such a good job.
A customer had just left and the store was empty. I was making a routine check of the stock on display when a middle-aged man came in the side door. He casually looked around, sauntered down the aisle and ended up in the rear of the shop looking over a new display of paper party items. At almost the same time a very well groomed mature woman, dressed in an expensive tailored suit and high heels, entered the front door and asked for the location of the post cards.
As she leafed through the cards she told me what a thrill it was visiting Disneyland. She and her family had traveled from somewhere in the Midwest just to see this wonderful place. After several more very complimentary remarks about the park and some small talk about her home town, she turned toward the man who had entered just before her and said, “My only disappointment is that there isn’t some sort of dress code enforced at the gate.” “Obviously any person who has the price of a ticket can be admitted.” It was apparent she was referring to the appearance of my only other customer. He was dressed in slightly soiled tan pants and had a day old beard, however his hair was combed and his shirt was clean.
The man must have heard her remarks but he just continued to look over the new display. I wanted to shout, “TAKE A SECOND LOOK!” But I only smiled and the moment passed. The lady paid for her post cards and rejoined the few people on Main Street. The man turned, smiled and went out just as he had entered.
Too bad that lady didn’t lay aside her ideas about how things should be. If she had taken that second look, she might have turned her disappointment into an experience she could remember for a lifetime. Blinded by her own prejudice, she never got to meet the man in the back of the store, Walt Disney.
Editors note: I originally received this submission years ago when I published the Endless Possibilities newsletter. This story has always been a powerful reminder to me not to judge a book by it’s cover. It’s also applicable to the Master Mind principle. Sometimes we are standing right next to a “dream come true” but we will miss it if we are in judgment of ourselves and others.