Situation: Wedding Day. August 18th, 2012. Getting ready at home – approximately 10 minutes from the church.
Bride and all other guests already waiting at the venue. 20 minutes to show time. Limo-Bus with driver parked outside so the groomsmen and I can roll up with style.
Just then, a knock at the door. It’s the driver! The bus has broken down and is inoperable – no chance of a quick recovery. No back-up vehicle on standby from the limo company. The groomsman and I stare in disbelief. All our personal vehicles are already pre-staged at the venue where the same bus was to later drop us off after the ceremony. We’ve got no backup plan. The wedding will need to be delayed as we call friends and family to leave the church, get back in their cars, and come pick us up.
But wait. What’s that in the driveway?
Some of the groomsman and I had recently bootstrapped a solar contracting company, which involved scraping together a couple thousand dollars to purchase a 2001 Chevy Express utility van. Behind the cab there were no windows, no air vents, no seats, no interior panels, and a ton of tools and equipment.
The answer was clear: Get Shit Done.
I hopped in the driver’s seat as the groomsmen crammed into the back, pushing aside heavy tools, spools of wire, and other jagged metal objects. The cluster of squatting penguin suits struggled to keep their footing as the van’s worn suspension took its first bounce exiting the driveway. The groomsmen did their best to re-brace themselves as we began the tenuous journey.
Despite the absurdity, stress, and moderate danger of the situation, there was a collective buzz throughout the wedding party… this was kind of fun… and it would make a great story one day [this is that story!].
With no windows or air conditioning in August, and an overcrowded cattle-car of grown men wearing triple-layers of clothing physically exerting themselves to maintain balance in the jostling cabin… the temperature and humidity quickly began to climb. Even if we made it without passing out first, we’d be a complete swamp, spilling into the church in just a few minutes.
“Open the door!” I shouted back. We were on a two-lane state highway, but it was straight and we were moving relatively low speed. The utility sliding door being open would quickly vent the cabin. Despite the increased danger of a groomsmen falling out of our moving vehicle (I had a couple spares, so the risk was acceptable to me), there were no complaints. There was immediate sigh of relief with the blast of fresh air as the rickety sliding door crashed into its full-open position.
The wide-open door on the passenger side of the van provided a comical and disorienting sight to other vehicles as we swapped places in the left-hand lane. . .You mean you don’t see a placarded solar-contracting utility vehicle driving down the highway with the door open displaying 5-tuxedoed young men bouncing around in the back every day? Then you need to get some new friends.
We made it to the church on time, and thanks to a quick early-warning text message, the wedding photographer was out in the parking lot, ready to document the hot mess rolling in. Yes, that is a candid photo of some of my groomsmen regaining confidence that this was not their last day on earth.
Looking back, what seemed at first like a nightmare scenario turned into an experience I wouldn’t trade for the planned experience, thanks to the collective enthusiasm and commitment of my team to Get __it Done. Anything you face in life is a future memory and potential story. Embrace the unexpected, lean-in to adversity, and seize every opportunity to achieve success. “Get Shit Done and Make it Fun!”
– A memoir by Eric Diamond, VP of Finance