The little bear in London has fulfilled his mission and sorted out the powered wheelchairs. He has sent reports of lovely models that will meet the requirements of our old folks and physically disabled. He has been good as gold and provided reasonable quotations from 5 companies for our perusal. I thought of just getting 2 wheelchairs, although it would be much more cost-efficient to get 5. But I was worried about the potentially heavy costs of shipping.
It was just a casual call- from a friend to another. We requested for a slight discount off the usual shipping rates. Instead, the reply that came back was a total surprise. They extended an unexpectedly unstinting gesture. The company would absorb all shipping rates and asked us to consider increasing the number of wheelchairs to be shipped.
The company has supported us fabulously on a Mongolian project. That was so fun! They know that we strictly fly under the radar on a very private basis- therefore we can't offer like banners, ads, press mentions, public acknowledgments or anything like that; big-bang items that would convince big organizations to sponsor our teeny efforts and hit their KPIs on corporate social responsibilities. We don't want that slice of the pie. We work on trust, integrity and friendship. That's why we never canvass for donations. Not our style. We fund our projects entirely out of our own pockets. We do not ask for full funding for anything, not even co-funding. We ask for discounts and little favors. That was the direction we decided a decade ago and stuck by it ever since. It has worked well for us. To pull off every project, we ride heavily on individual competencies, talents and aptitude. Each time a project ends, we ask ourselves, did it really happen?! Yes, it did. We document our stuff and even though it isn't necessary, we hire auditors to vet our annual accounts, and ummm....tell us what can contribute towards our individual tax exemptions. Heeeeee.
It's all very exciting indeed. A flurry of quick emails confirmed that we now want 10 wheelchairs. Last night, I was damn pissed off with StarHub (see twitter rant) because I couldn't put in my order and do all the stuff I needed when UK is awake. It meant a 12-hr delay because it would have to wait till tonight. Anyway, 10 wheelchairs will make a nice number and we know exactly where they will go to bestow maximum benefits.
Somewhere between midnight and noon today, I'm reminded that while there're narrow-minded people, there're generous humans and organizations around. The humans within define the image of an organization. The culture and decisions are reflective of the nature of leadership in the respective companies.