On Friday's while Patty is at CrossFit, I usually take a break from work and watch Nate for a few hours. This morning I asked him what he wanted to do and he said, "I want to see a train". Ok, that's a random one, how do I fulfil that request?
Well, while out cycling the other day, I just happened to ride by a CSX station in a town nearby, so we hopped in the car and drove out to it. It was an old building with no windows or glass in the door, but I knocked and when no one answered I just went in. It was a very non public place with lockers and years old flooring and walls. Once inside though, I bumped into a man just said, "hi, we'd like to see a train, are there any out in the yard we can look at?"
To our surprise, he was very accommodating and took us out in the yard and showed us all kinds of stuff: tracks, cars, engines, a choo-choo-truck; he even blew the train horn! It's amazing what people are willing to share with you if you just ask!
I've done this quite a few times, with fire stations, police stations, etc. We have a small local airport that I took the kids to once. We walked into the mechanics shop, and struck up a conversation with the first person we saw. It turned out he was the owner of one of the planes in the shop and invited the kids up into the plane and answered all kids of random questions from the kids. The owner of the shop even ended up giving the kids some wooden model airplanes. Another time we saw a hot air baloon land near by. We drove over, started up conversation with the folks, and winded up getting a ride.
I was chatting with a business assiciate the other day and we were talking about this concept of asking. Whether you're thinking of asking for a sale, for the job, for an investment, or for the promotion...just don't be afraid to ask. I typically find people are much more willing to entertain the idea than you think they might be. Even if they're not, it may open the doors to something else. Besides, the worst thing that can happen is you get a No, and that's not a bad risk to reward ratio!