By Mark Bowser
Vice President, Bright Corp.
Author of Sales Success
Before I tell you the story, let me just say the NFDMA Convention was awesome and a huge success!
Early on Friday morning August 3rd my cousin, Johnathon Curless (COO of Bright Corporation) and I began our trek toward the land of Mickey Mouse and the NFDMA Convention which was held this year in Kissimmee, FL in the Orlando area.
From our families and friends, Johnathon and I heard over and over what a great time we were going to have…after all, we are going to Walt Disney World. Well, we did have a good time despite two snakes, a dead rabbit, and getting picked up by the Disney Police. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning….
We arrived in Orlando on Saturday August 4th and checked into Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. After getting situated in our room, we decided to ride the pontoon river boat from our resort to Disney Springs to get some dinner. The weather was nice and the fresh air felt good after being cooped up in a van for two days. After a nice dinner we decided to head back to the resort. By this time, it was probably around 9:00 PM. We arrived back at the boat dock…and the line was a mile long (Not really, it just appeared that way.)
Good ole Google GPS said it was only 2.3 miles to our resort so we decided to work off our dinner and walk back to the resort. We started down the paved path that wound beside the river bank. However, we had only gone a short distance and the sidewalk abruptly dead ended at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. No big deal! We wound our way through that resort and continued to head in the direction of the Port Orleans Riverside.
As I glanced at my GPS, I noticed that the distance didn’t seem to be going down. Then, GPS couldn’t find us walking directions to our resort. Hmmm, that was a sign…but, we were committed at this point. Even though we were on foot, I decided to put the GPS in drive mode and it was able to calculate us a route that way.
Imagine this, two guys walking down the side of the street (because there are no sidewalks) at Walt Disney World in the dark of night. Bus after bus passed us headed to the parks and shortly thereafter, a friendly Disney police car pulled up beside us, “Anything the matter boys?” Asked one of the cops.
We explained our situation and they seemed sympathetic. “You know, even though Disney is a family destination, we do serve alcohol on the premises. This is not a very safe road to be walking on. Some of the drivers can get a little reckless,” said Cop #1.
Cop #2 said, “You could take a short cut through the golf course, but there are critters out there at night.”
“Oh, just get in!” said Cop #1.
Our two new friends then preceded to escort us back to our resort. That ended day one of our adventure.
The next day went pretty smoothly as we began setting up our booth for the convention. The biggest challenge we had was putting together a beautiful, yet elaborate shelving display unit. It was a challenge because neither Johnathon or myself got the “handyman around the house” gene from my grandfather (Johnathon’s great grandfather) William H. Bowser. Oh well, we got the unit up and it stood…
The opening night of the convention was absolutely awesome. The energy in the room was electric. Great conversations, great contacts, and great atmosphere.
The next morning, my daughter FaceTimed me using her cell phone. One of our rabbits was sick. My kids raise rabbits for 4H and compete at the county fair. (I am a proud dad. My kids are doing a great job. Hannah has placed First Place and Grand Champion two years in a row with her Doe and Litter. Rebecca came in 3rd place in her section and it is her first year of competition. Andrew came in 2nd place with his Netherland Dwarf rabbit. A great fair). I will admit, the rabbit didn’t look good. To make a long story short, we lost him. His official name used in competition given to him by the breeder was Black Dirt, but we affectionately called him Thumper. He was a great rabbit. Needless to say, my daughter was very upset.
That night after coming home from the convention, Johnathon found a visitor in the bathroom. Even though this is Disney, this visitor was very unwelcome. It was a snake. Now, it was a tiny snake so Johnathon grabbed a washcloth and picked up the snake to throw it outside. As Johnathon made his way to the door, our little visitor tried over and over to reach around and bite him. If it had been any larger, it would have taken a chunk out of Johnathon’s hand. That was a little concerning because the Garter Snakes back home don’t do that. We called the front desk and Disney immediately sent someone out to our room. That ended another day.
The rest of our stay was uneventful (from a critter standpoint) until we were getting ready to check out. We were about to take our bags out of the room when Johnathon said to me, “There is a snake under your bag.”
I had a look on my face that said, “Yeah, right. Cut it out man. That isn’t funny.”
“No. I am serious. There is a snake under your bag.”
Sure enough. There was a snake under my bag. This time, we called Disney to remove it from the room. They sent a man out to us immediately. He must have been a descendant to Davy Crockett. Nothing seemed to bother this guy. He wore thick gloves and arm protectors up to his elbows. He grabbed the ice bucket and scooped up the snake and tossed it into the extra thick bag he had with him. On closer examination the man casually said, “You know, this is a water snake. The water moccasins are poisonous. Now, this is a baby….”
You can imagine what was going through my mind. If these two little snakes which we had in our room were babies…then where are their mom and dad? Obviously Disney compensated us for our inconvenience and I am quite sure they sent people out to hunt down the little snake family.
As a professional speaker, I was even asked to speak on a stage across from our Bright Corp booth. All in all, it was a rewarding and successful trip to the NFDMA convention.
“Superior Training, Superior Results!”
*Mark’s family has owned and operated the Bright Corporation in Anderson, Indiana since 1945.