A $20,000 Tip & a Reminder to Slow Down

A few months ago, in Hawaii, I had a 9 a.m. dentist appointment in the next town over from where we live. It’s a gorgeous 40-minute drive each way, with sweeping views of the coast. But on this particular day I wasn’t paying attention to the views.

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I was in a hurry and focused on getting home in time for an 11:30 conference call I had. And I hadn’t given myself time to grab my morning coffee fix, either… so I was calculating whether I had enough time to grab a quick drink at the local coffee shop on my way home.  Sound familiar?

“Hmmmm, if the line isn’t too long and I don’t order anything fancy… I could get something and still make it home in time for my call.  I could totally pull this off!”

I pulled into the little town where we live, found a front row parking spot, and scooted my booty in to the coffee shop where there was (hallelujah!) no line.

Drink in hand, I walked across the street to my car and when I went to grab my keys out of my purse they weren’t in the little compartment where I usually stick them. Hmmm… I thought, “Maybe they fell to the bottom of my bag?” I checked there, and then proceed to check EVERYWHERE, but no keys.  

Back into the coffee shop to see if I’d left them on the counter. Nope. My stomach sank and I went outside to scan the sidewalk to see if they fell out of my bag. Negative. They’re nowhere to be found, and at this point I had two minutes before my conference call starts.

I found a quiet table outside, put my earbuds in, and joined the call from the coffee shop…. all the while baffled by where my keys have disappeared to so quickly.

After the meeting wrapped up, I called my husband to see if he could bring me my spare set of keys. “Sorry, babe, I’m an hour away and won’t be back until later this afternoon.” Great.

At this point, I decide to go back in and order a salad “to go” for lunch before I walk home to get my spare set of keys.  

As I enter the coffee shop, one of my favorite baristas looks up, grins, and says, “Mindy, we found your keys. You dropped them in the tip jar! That’s the biggest tip anyone’s ever left us… a car!”

Relief washes over me and laughter comes spilling forth from all of us. I tipped the barisatas my CAR… because I was in such a hurry.

We’ve all done things like this before, yes?  Misplaced our keys and sunglasses because we weren’t really present when we set them down. Tried to fit in that one little errand even though we’re running short on time.

Multitasking has become the norm in our society. But at what cost?

Clearly for me it all worked out well in this situation… I made it to my call on time and found my keys.  But my mind was clearly somewhere else, and not in the present moment, when I accidentally dropped those keys in the jar.

I think these moments are like little “wake-up” calls that invite us to look at where we are putting our attention and our presence.


Even pausing to take a deep breath or two in between tasks can make a huge difference in how mindfully and present you show up throughout the day.

These small moments add up to big moments. And all of these moments add up to our lives.  

And at the end of your life, I don’t think we’ll be reflecting on how proud we were of our ability to multitask.  Do you?

The next time you find yourself running around trying to cram a bunch of things into your day, think about my car keys in the tip jar and remind yourself of the beauty of…  slowing down.

Even pausing to take a deep breath or two inbetween tasks can make a huge difference in how mindfully and present you show up throughout the day.

And, at the end of the day, I want us all to feel good about how we’re showing up for ourselves and for the people we love. It matters.

Ready to begin 2018 with more mindfulness and a deepened clarity about what is most important to you?

Join me this January for an 8-week  mindfulness class as I teach the Mindful Life Program Foundations Course  at a beautiful new space in downtown Kapaau, HI. You can read more about it here and read what past participants have said about it here.