#26- Help a Stranger: Bridget Meets Taylor

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The Back-story (Blog extract from February 27th, 2012)

I don’t know where to start. My heart is pounding at a million miles an hour and in the last five minutes I’ve caught myself laughing hysterically before then almost crying. Why? Well we’ve just managed to help a little girl called Bridget achieve her biggest dream- meet Taylor Swift!

You may remember a few weeks ago I introduced Bridget to you as the 15 year old girl suffering from an undiagnosed digestive complication which has landed her in hospital.  To give you a brief backstory, I was originally approached by a friend of Bridget’s family who saw me give a talk at a conference in Canberra. His email to me was quite simple; he asked whether I’d be able to help a sick young girl’s dream of meeting her idol come true. Without knowing how, I immediately said YES! he also attached the letter below, written by Bridget.

There are times in life where I’m filled with a purpose that leaves me unable to concentrate on anything else. When these moments hit me, i honestly believe that there is nothing that cannot be achieved. In this instance my goal was to somehow find Taylor Swift. Nothing in the world meant more to me. Hours upon hours spent on emails and phone calls consumed the first few hours I had alone and within a few days I was lucky enough to meet Bridget and her family in hospital in Sydney where Bridget  was undergoing medical tests. Although looking slightly fatigued, her smile was huge and after sitting down and sharing some stories I was convinced that we’d we’d be able to find Taylor. Why? I don’t know- but after giving Bridget a copy of my book where she immediately went to the back and wrote down her Number 1 dream- Meet Taylor Swift- something, somewhere, clicked.

Over the next week, I called as many radio stations, TV networks, agents, managers, and promotions companies as possible, desperately looking for a way to Taylor, but amongst a myriad of red-tape and straight-out ‘no’s!’, it was the support of people following my journey that gave me the most hope of success. After posting on the 100 Things Facebook page that I was trying to help out little Bridget, I was inundated with messages from people offering to help. It’s amazing what strength comes out of community. Of all the suggestions and consequent emails that did occur in the days that followed, it was a series of on-line competitions offering a chance to meet Taylor Swift in her upcoming tour to Australia that gave me my brightest idea. What would happen if I embraced all of the support and got everyone to enter the competitions on behalf of Bridget. Often it’s the simplest of ideas that work best and within hours I was receiving emails from people all around the world telling me that they had entered! Time would now dictate the outcome.

Fast forward to today, and I still can’t wipe this smile off my face. I just opened an email from a lady named Grusha in Perth, Australia:

“Seb,

OMG- I WON TAYLOR SWIFT TICKETS-YOU CAN HAVE THEM FOR BRIDGET.

If you can get Bridget here, my daughter and I would love to give her the tickets.

I received an e-mail to say I have won and the tickets will be sent and someone will be in contact with me. Woohoo!

Grusha”

Again, I am smiling! Grusha it turned out wasn’t joking. My excited phone call to her confirmed this!

A long time ago, someone asked me what my plan is with 100 Things. My answer back then was ‘I don’t know‘. There has never been a plan but of late I’ve been able to take a step back from all the happenings of this peculiar journey and begin to see somewhat of a pattern that has emerged. It started with me and my own little list. Before long people started supporting and helping me and my list. With more progress on my list, people then found an element of inspiration in this journey and decided to start their own lists. This was amazing. Not only were these lists incredible and varied, but I soon found that I was occasionally able to help these people with items on their lists, in a way returning the favor. Surprisingly I felt just as satisfied helping others with their list as I did when completing my own! This for a long time has been a new found drive for me but today I have seen the next step in this journey and it has almost nothing to do with me- people are now helping people on their own will and desire! This is a movement- I’m sure of it!

Bridget’s pending meeting with her idol Taylor Swift is purely being made possible because of community.

As the story goes, from here I will be visiting Bridget in hospital on Wednesday. With her Dad (I just broke the news to him in secrecy) beside her, I will tell her that we’ve managed to arrange for her dream to come true. I cannot wait! The funny part to this is that we will then have to fly Bridget, her Dad and myself, to Perth the following day (Thursday) in time for the concert in Perth on Friday! What a story!

I’ve said for a long time that I have a huge faith in people and community. Today has strengthened this. When we harness our minds there is nothing we can’t do, but the secret it seems to me is that we are also open to other influences outside of what we know.

I will keep you updated with Bridget’s story in the next few days but for now I’m off to book us all flights! (I’m still smiling!)

Thank you Grusha and Bridget; you are what this journey is all about!

Unbelievable!

The Event (Blog extract from March 5th, 2012)

The journey of 100 Things grows and moves forward with a momentum that I have no control of. In this way it’s completely organic and with no plan or specific destination to reach, it moves in a way that it choses; kind of like water making it’s way down hill, finding the best and most natural path. Thankfully though with this movement, I can feel that we’re moving in a good direction. Last Friday confirms this for me.

Young Bridget, a sick little girl who I heard had a list of just one item- meeting  Taylor Swift- last night  realized her dream! It was EPIC. For her it was the most amazing moment of her life. Her smile which stretched quite literally from ear to ear did not leave her face all night and her shaking and nervous giggles as she walked into the private ‘meet & greet’ room to say hello to Taylor is an image that speaks volumes for the idea of achieving dreams. Anticipation and excitement both climaxing in the face of complete satisfaction.

For me, last night’s event was another moment in which I realized that anything is possible. Not only this but thankfully I was able to help someone tick an item from their list. This is a habit that is becoming highly addictive and if the truth to be know the feeling of euphoria I get when I see someone achieve a goal is on par (if not even bigger) than when I tick something from my list. This is the future of 100 Things.

Up until now, my journey has followed a pattern. It all started with my simple list. Nothing was more important to me and as such I began to tick items off after throwing 100% of my efforts at them. As I strived to tick off each item, a strange thing happened where complete strangers who would feel a desire to try and help. These people were, and still are, amazing. After feeling the support of others, I soon noticed that not only were people helping me but they were beginning sending me their own lists. Naturally I encouraged this, but on occasions I had the opportunity to repay the kindness of others by actually helping them out too. This was an amazing growth in the journey and has been a focus for a while. Last night though, a new angle to this journey popped up. Not only was I helping a stranger, but someone else (another stranger) helped me do it. Strangers are now helping strangers! And taking a moment to digest last night’s event, I can feel that the next part of this journey has revealed itself. People are helping people. Is there a better dynamic in the world?!

A lady named Grusha who had heard of own journey was the selfless stranger on this occasion. As you know, after encouraging everybody on my site to enter an on-line competition where the winner got the opportunity to meet Taylor Swift, Grusha somehow won! Immediately she contacted me, telling me that wanted to donate the tickets to Bridget. Her one and only hope was that she could help. It’s acts of complete kindness and selflessness that have given me so much optimism and faith in people. I was on this occasion, purely a middleman- a bystander to an gesture that allowed a sick little girl to actualize a dream that she had committed to paper only a few weeks earlier. Grusha helped a complete stranger.

After temporarily checking herself out of hospital with her Dad, Bridget made the long flight to Perth with absolute courage. Quickly acclimatizing to the hot weather, her and her father got dressed up and made their way to the Burswood Stadium where Taylor was to play that night. Trailing by a few hours, I was able to meet the guys at the ticket office and just as we met up, Grusha and her daughter walked round the corner to say hello too. With absolute love and care, Grusha then handed over the tickets to the excited Bridget who couldn’t believe what was going on- to be honest I think we all felt the same! Like clockwork, the promotions team who had arranged the meet & greet with Taylor Swift then approached our group and asked Bridget one simple question- ‘Are you ready to meet Taylor now?’- I don’t think i’ll ever forget Bridget’s face as she suddenly realized that she was now moments away from ticking off her one and only list item! She was overwhelmed. Moments later, Bridget and her Dad were whisked off to the private meeting room (just quietly he seemed just as excited to meet Taylor Swift!). As they left, Bridget looked up at me with a look of sheer adrenalin.

Bridget’s Dad, Me, Bridget, Jess, Grusha

As the competition rules stated, it was only Bridget and her Dad who had tickets to the concert but in what was another act of kindness, the promotions lady then passed us three additional tickets- one for Grusha, one for her daughter and one for me. This was great and although not ‘meet & greet’ tickets, we happily made our way into the stadium sporting a similar smile to that of Bridget’s. Together we all felt amazing in the knowledge that at that very moment she was talking to her idol Taylor Swift.

There are times in life when things just seem right. This was one of them. The act of helping someone else is something that offers a feeling of complete contentment. I think as people we’re all wired to be able to help someone else but often it’s finding the opportunity to do so that poses the problem. Having found a way to do so on this occasion, I could see Grusha sitting next to me with an heir of satisfaction. She was loving life!

With that I suddenly got a tap on my shoulder- it was Bridget. If I thought that her smile before was large, this new grin was even bigger! Waving an autographed picture of Taylor in her hand, it was clear that she’d done what she had come here to do- meet Taylor Swift!

Taylor & Bridget- anything is possible!

Her happiness meant that we’d all been successful in differing ways.

Bridget’s newest item!

With a great story of how she hugged Taylor and spoke with her about jewelry amongst other girly things, Bridget then addressed all of us with one thing that she wanted to say- thank you! She meant it.

Taylor Swift- legend!

I think helping someone else is something that we should all do at one stage or another. To think that my journey of 100 Things is now beginning to move in this direction is something that fills me with excitement. If what had happened up to this point wasn’t enough to convince me of this, what Bridget did next certainly was. After sharing her story with us I asked her one question;

“So Bridget, what’s next then on your list?”

“Well I really want to help someone else now!”

And that is what this journey is all about.

Let’s start a movement!

100 Things… What’s on your list?

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