Last night I sat at a booth in a Mexican restaurant with two girlfriends, whom ~ for the purposes of their protection ~ I’ll call Sunshine and Sunflower.
We chatted away, munching on tortilla chips, and laughing at our good fortune of enjoying girlfriend therapy, which is so much cheaper than other kinds of therapy. Not to mention, so much safer. (Insanity is not good for the health of others.) Besides, what professional counselor lets you chomp on tortilla chips and salsa during a counseling session?
I noticed two clean-cut, young men approach our table. They had a confident manner, attired in white shirts, black slacks, and short-cropped haircuts. One wore a tool belt apron with the handle of a pump protruding from a pocket.
My first thought, and Sunshine’s too, was, “Oh no! They’re the managers. They’re about to ask us to leave since we’ve finished eating and we’re occupying the table for longer than the management desires. They want the table for continued revenue.”
“Would you like a balloon animal?” one of the young men asks.
What? I tried to readjust my thinking −from the happy knowledge we could continue our occupation of the table to the perplexing knowledge of a balloon animal offer.
“How old are you?” Sunflowers asks. (As an aside, Sunflower has a very sweet and curious nature.)
“I’m fifteen,” says the blond boy. The dark-headed boy chimes in, “I’m sixteen.”
“You look a little older than that,” Sunflower says.
“I’m six-foot,” says the blond boy, making sure we understand his height gives the impression of an older gentleman.
“How much do you charge?” I ask.
“We work for tips,” the boys say in unison.
Sunflower tells them she has young boys at home and she’ll take whatever balloon animals boys prefer.
“Boys like aliens,” says the blond boy as he pumps air into long, skinny balloons. He twists tube-like balloons that makes a slightly annoying screech sound. He forms the alien’s feet and legs. Screee-eeech.
“How did it work out that you make balloon animals and balloon aliens at this restaurant?” asks Sunflower.
The boys explain the summer jobs they had hoped to get at the local movie theater fell through. They needed work and so they came up with the balloon business. The restaurant gave them permission to entertain their customers for tips.
At this, the boys hand us their business cards. They tell us they do parties at $50 an hour (hint, hint!)
The business card features a cougar balloon animal, along with the blond boy’s name and phone number. The slogan at the bottom states, “Your Balloon Twister.”
Soon the boys present Sunflower with two sci-fi balloon aliens with spooky eyes and holding balloon ray guns. In addition, the blond boy has fashioned a balloon poodle and gives that to Sunflower.
“My kids will love these,” she says and hands cash to Balloon Twister.
“How did you learn to make balloon animals?” I ask, impressed with their work.
“The University of You Tube,” Blond Balloon Boy says with a grin.
Even though Sunshine or I didn’t ask for a balloon animal, we hand cash to the boys to help support their newfound business. (As an aside, Sunshine has a very generous nature.)
Here’s why I mention the balloon incident that happened last night. These two boys could have been disgruntled over missing out on the summer job at the movie theater. They could have stayed home and played video games while puffing on cigarettes. (Ok, I admit. I thought adding the mental picture of smoking cigarettes made it seem more dramatic.)
Rather than giving up, the boys got together and brainstormed a money-making idea. They studied You Tube, bought balloons, an air pump, and business cards.
It reminds me that no matter what disappointing situation we find ourselves in, we can turn it around and make it work for us.
It’s more than “necessity is the mother of invention” or “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s about an idea that may seem crazy, but believing it will work. Who knows where their balloon business might lead? Walt Disney got his start at an early age by selling his drawings to his neighbors.
Now, with that said.
Who would like a balloon animal? Bronwyn’s Balloon Business will be in operation soon.