by Joyce DiPastena
Some friends and I just finished running a joint 30 days/30 prizes contest on our blogs. I set it up because (1) I thought it would be fun, and (2) I thought it might win a little publicity for our books, products and blogs. After all, everyone likes to win (or try to win) things, right?
Just as I was putting the finishing touches on the contest, a woman I knew well in high school but hadn’t heard from since, found me on Facebook and “friended” me. We exchanged a brief, “Hi, how are ya! Long time no hear!”, in the course of which she mentioned that she was currently taking care of her widowed father full time, and I expressed my support, having done the same for many years with both my parents. That was the end of our conversation, until I posted our contest on Facebook and decided to send her an invitation.
I was pleased when she began entering for the various days and prizes, a few times mentioning in her email entries how much fun she was having with the contest. And I was even more delighted when, in the course of the contest, I randomly drew her name for one of the prizes.
I heard nothing more from her until the contest ended the last day of June. Then this week, I received a touching email from her. With her name omitted, it read in part:
First I want to congratulate you on your second publication. I have to admit that I haven't done much reading because of taking care of my dad as you know, but since I won the book Torn Apart [by Diony George] I have started reading once again. I have almost finished the fourth book finally of the Work and the Glory, and it's been two years since I started it. That's to you and your friends I have found something that I love to do once again. I still don't have a lot of time to do it but, I take time at night to do so. So, to all of you THANKS!...Thanks for helping me refind my love for books and the time to read them.
We all thought we were “just running a contest”! But never underestimate the power of a good book. In a way none of us expected, we also touched and uplifted a woman’s life. One good read opened the pathway to what will hopefully be for her many more of the same.
For each such expression of thanks received, how many similar experiences might there be that we never hear about? Contests and giveaways are fun to sponsor, but sometimes…perhaps more times than any of us know…to the person winning the prize, that contest or giveaway may be something much, much more. It may be the rediscovery of a long lost love.