“When someone gives you an opportunity, take it.”

On the way to Delicious Mauritius and the flight where I unintentionally made a key contact.

It’s amazing who you can meet when you leave yourself to be open and talk to people without an agenda.

I came to Mauritius mid-April this year to be with my grandma while she recovered from eye surgery. I bought the cheapest ticket I could find online from Singapore to Mauritius just two weeks before my flight. After I bought my ticket, I saw on the ticket that the flight from Malaysia to Mauritius was in business class. I thought it was a mistake or glitch in their system.

When I checked into the flight, I was still dressed like a backpacker in my shorts, tank top and flip flops. Even when I was giving my boarding pass, one staff person whispered loud enough to her colleague, “Oh she’s in business class.” I so didn’t look the part.

So I get to my big seat I’m completely clueless on how to use the chair. I thought the staff would give some kind of orientation. Silly me.

After two hours, I regained more energy and finally said hello to the guy next to me just to be friendly and asked if he was visiting Mauritius or if he lived there. I had no idea who he was obviously. He told me he’s been doing business in Mauritius for a long time and we just chatted about his background, family and my volunteer work.

I told him while I’m in Mauritius I wanted to visit some NGOs while I have time there visting family and attending weddings. He kindly offered to introduce me to a manager of one of the biggest Corporate Social Responsibility departments in Mauritius and also invited me to one of his workshops. I cautiously accepted because I was wondering why he was being so nice to do all of this. I even asked him, “Why are you doing this for me, you just met me.” He simply replied, “We all have to start somewhere and I’m  happy to help you. When someone gives you an opportunity, you should take it.”

I had nothing to lose and I got a good vibe from him. My intuition has guided me well the past year when it comes to judging personalities. So I contacted him as soon as I could and when I saw the invitation for his workshop, I learned what an established and well known business he was and I was shocked to learn that the five-day intensive course was worth a few thousand US dollars. When I went to the payment portion of the form, it said “Approved.”

I was so embarrased that I asked him on the plane how to pull out the TV and eating tray. I said, “Sorry, I’ve never been in business class before.” Keep in mind I was wearing mini shorts, a tank top and flip flops. Thankfully he judged me for my substance and not style. My family and friends always ask me what I was wearing when he made the offer and the are surprised that he did given the way I looked.

Tomorrow will be the first day of the workshop and I am preparing for it. I’m both excited and nervous but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a challenge so it’s time to step up and work my brain again. I won’t have another post until late next week because I’ve been told I will be getting three hours of sleep for the next week since there are daily tests, projects and group work.

Lesson of the story: Talk to people without an agenda and if someone offers to help you, take it.

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