So this time last year, almost to the day I had a bit of a crisis. Doing a five-day photo shoot on location takes some planning. Cameras and lenses and bounce flashes and memory cards and more memory cards and the batteries and chargers and back up chargers in case anything dies. (Why, oh, why does every new camera model have a different battery? Why?) The list went on and on.

I was happily prepared for BlogHer ’11. Not smug, just feeling like I had my ducks in a row. Until something dawned on me. Multi-day event work isn’t my regular thing, and I normally don’t carry gear made for it. I usually put my things down somewhere while I’m working, but I was going to need to carry a lot of it most of the day. Every day.

So, I began scrambling around this giant city to find the perfect bag in two days. I saw some nice rugged camera bags, but the investment was pretty big for something I didn’t see myself using much (read: they were big and black and screamed, “Hi, I’m a camera bag!”). I unexpectedly tortured myself further by doing a quick google search for camera bags and came upon Kelly Moore’s site. I fell in love with her bags. Specifically the Mimi, which looked like it would hold just about all my things when I had one camera in hand.

If Marc Jacobs and Nikon had a love child, it would be that bag.

The price was worth every penny given that it not only would work for this shoot but on my everyday ones, too, and if I removed or rearranged the interior padding I could use the iPad sleeve and throw in a script and notepad and go work at The Coffee Bean. It could be a tote. A diaper bag, too (OK, I was projecting a bit). Kelly Moore thought of everything.

I, obviously, had not.

I’m no genius in the math department, but I knew that I couldn’t get the bag in time. I didn’t see any expedited options on their site, so I emailed asking a big favor, explaining I was off to shoot BlogHer, and if there was any way they could expedite that shipping to overnight, please contact me.

I got an email that asked for my address. I wrote back politely, not sure what the overnight cost would be to ship.

And then another email. No, no, I didn’t understand. They wanted to send me the bag.

I may have cried a little. Maybe because two days of running around to find a bag had left me exhausted and a little worried. Maybe because the generosity of strangers is nothing short of humbling.

I asked them to give me as many of their business cards as they could stuff inside. I wanted to do whatever I could to thank them. They had gone above and beyond overnight shipping.

The bag arrived. No business cards to be found.

I wore than bag at BlogHer last year, and it saved my neck. Literally.

alexandra wrote reflection blogher11At one point, I ran into my friend Laura, who was then expecting a baby. She looked at me and said I was probably carrying more weight than she was. When I got home, I stood on the scale with my bag full of gear and cameras around my neck, and it was about 20 extra pounds. Laura, I think I won.

I was always quick to share the story of how that bag came to be at BlogHer. I was proud to be wearing it.  My co-shooter ended up ordering a bag after the conference, and I hope I was able to bring a few more people their way.

Still, to this day I look at that bag and wonder how I’ll ever really be able to thank Kelly for that. That bag made it possible for me to concentrate on doing my work because I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to schlep things around the massive convention center. I had the support I needed.

This post isn’t sponsored. It isn’t a giveaway. It’s just about gratitude.

In a moment when I needed some help, I got so much more than I had ever expected. Without any strings attached. I have nothing planned yet, and perhaps what I do will remain anonymous, but I now link the BlogHer conference with a generosity I’d never expected. One I hope I can somehow pay forward.

Thanks, Kelly. I couldn’t have done it without you (and Mimi).

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4 thoughts on “BlogHer, Gratitude, and the Kindness of Strangers

  1. emily

    what an amazing gift! it’s beyond touching when someone goes above and beyond for another person, with absolutely no prompting. the connection that you’ll have with that bag, and company, and memory– it will totally influence how you act toward others for years. love this story.

    Reply
  2. Louise

    After reading through this story it is truly inspiring! I work for a team called American Bear where the originators have created a documentary about how the kindness of strangers has saved them throughout their travels. After spending several months working with this team, I am amazed every day at just how kind and thoughtful people can really be. We post these types of stories to our website iamakindstranger.com and I wanted to know you would want to share your beautiful story here as well! Thank you for brightening my day 🙂

    Reply
    1. alexandra Post author

      Hi Louise,
      Thank you so much for visiting and reading. I would love to learn more about your project – will email you as soon as possible! – A.

      Reply

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