It was one of those days when we could put off all the pressing details of daily life, so we decided at the last minute to take a drive and look for a place that might be for sale. We drove by the trailer in a familiar campground, located the phone number on the for-sale sign, and called it. The owners were not there but were in the area and would be back soon, so we had lunch and waited. It was owned by an elderly couple, really nice people, who had decided after 20-plus years it was time for them to give it up and stay full time at their permanent residence. It was in great shape, and they were leaving everything. I mean everything. Appliances, furniture, bedding, fishing rods, tools, dishes, BBQ grill, pots and pans, towels, toilet paper…. everything. All we needed to move in was a suitcase full of clothes.
We left asking them to give us the weekend to decide but we both already knew we were going to buy it. The price was reasonable and the location was great, and so was this elderly couple that was selling it. I did something I’ve never done before. I called them back Monday morning and bought it without making an offer to buy for less than they were asking. Maybe they would have dropped the price if we would’ve asked, but that wasn’t the point. They were so friendly, and honest, and humble. They were people with a lot of faith. Sometimes, the right thing to do is just to be good to people. We didn’t need to try to take advantage of them by offering less and being a “hard bargainer”. We didn’t care. We had enough money. Maybe they didn’t and needed every penny of this sale to help with other things going on in their lives. We don’t know.
Sometimes life is not about making the next great deal, or getting some great results. Sometimes life is just about feeling good about what you are doing. It’s about treating people right. A couple of thousand dollars today is not going to mean anything to us twenty years from now, but knowing that we treated these people right after they were so generous to us is something we will always remember. It wasn’t us, it was them. We just followed their lead. We learned a great lesson from this couple about how to treat people. And about how the steps we take and the decisions we make throughout our lives, whether it’s in work, in relationships, or in our families, during the journey, is sometimes more important than the outcome. Learn from the process. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey and quit worrying so much about coming out ahead, taking advantage of a situation, or “winning” the discussion.