March 5th, 2014

Many people watched the Oscars Sunday night, the Academy Awards, the Hollywood prom. Among the glittering artists in the audience, we got to see a pizza guy delivering 3 large pizzas, dressed in his own uniform. Can you imagine having such an opportunity drop in your lap? It might have been my favorite part of the night.

I’m sure it didn’t look like much of an opportunity at first to Edgar Martirosyan, the owner of Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in West Hollywood, who doesn’t usually deliver the pizza. it was a busy night and everyone was out when he got the call. So he delivered himself.

I think he could have said the delivery would take longer and waited for one of his regular deliverers to get back. He could have let the customer go elsewhere if his timing was not acceptable. But he didn’t do those things. He stepped out of his normal role and willingly agreed that he could get the pizzas to the caller. Then when he got there and Ellen DeGeneres said to follow her he could have balked and asked to hand her the pizzas. But again he went willingly and was surprised to find himself on stage and in front of the dazzling audience as well as on television worldwide. That is an opportunity for which he could never have planned.

I wonder how open we are to situations that arise. How spontaneous can we be in response to someone’s need or a role that suddenly opens up? Might some of us even have expected a hoax on that very busy night? Or wondered if it was really worthwhile? Stepping out of our comfort zone and out of our plan can appear risky or a distraction at best.

Openness, courage, and curiosity will all help us respond in the moment in ways that can turn a fluke into an opportunity. I’m waiting for my phone call from Ms. DeGeneres.

By the way, Mr. Martirosyan left with a $1,000 tip, $400 from actors and $600 from Ms. DeGeneres, and a story to tell for quite some time.

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