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A $2.4 Million Personality

A $2.4 Million Personality


    

A $2.4 Million Personality

by Michael Angier

According to an Associated Press story, the headline above is true.

It seems that Gwen Butler, a bartender in an upscale restaurant in Boston's Beacon Hill section, made quite an impression on one of her patrons-a multimillion-dollar impression.

Gwen is a tall, 29-year-old woman with an infectious smile and a vivid dream-to own her own restaurant. Last February, when she waited on Erich Sager, a Swiss financier, she impressed him with her attention to service, her vivacious personality and her great smile.

They met later to discuss the particulars. He asked how much she would need to do it up right. She said, "at least two million." She and her friend and future business partner, Chris Rapzcynski, wrote up a business plan. In the end, Sager invested $2.4 million.

Several times over the last few years Gwen had been offered backing by customers she had met, but each time it turned out to be just a pickup line or an empty promise. This time it was for real.

The restaurant business has one of the highest failure rates of any industry. So why would a savvy businessman take such a chance? I'm betting it's because he saw in Gwen the kind of person who has what it takes to make a go of it. He caught her dream. Her restaurant is scheduled to open in September.

You never know when an opportunity will present itself. And it's important that we're properly prepared.

What if Gwen had been in a bad mood and let it show that day? What if her dream wasn't alive? What if she hadn't given Erich excellent service? Would she have been able to attract the financing? I think not.

You could say she was lucky-that she was in the right place at the right time. And that's true-she was. But what I've found is that magic happens when a prepared mind and a powerful dream meet opportunity.

At least once a month I ask my thirteen-year-old son to tell me the three rules of life. He usually rolls his eyes but dutifully recites all three: number one, be nice; number two, be nice and number three, yup, be nice.

That's what I think happened in Boston. It sure paid off for Gwen.

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