In the days of the wild west, if you wanted to travel a great distance, you had to go by stagecoach, and it was a very long trip. There were 3 different classes of passengers – First Class, Second Class and Third Class…the seats were all the same, but the prices were different. Here’s why…
First Class meant you remained seated during the entire trip, no matter what happened or what conditions might be faced.
Second Class meant you remained seated until there was a problem along the way, when you had to exit the stagecoach and walk alongside if there was a problem.
But Third Class passengers not only exited when there was a problem, they were also the ones who had to fix a broken wheel or even push the stagecoach along, through the mud, up the hills, no matter what came along. Aren’t you glad stagecoaches are no longer our mode of transportation?
So I began thinking about First Class, Second Class and even Third Class passengers when it comes to our involvement in things like Rotary or even our community. So let me ask you – what class ticket do you hold?
Too many of us hold First Class tickets – in our society, in our school or in our volunteer organization like Rotary, Interact or Rotaract – we expect to be waited on and catered to – even pampered! We’re willing to ride, but not push… We just sit back and let the others do the work. You know who those folks are don’t you?
But there are also those in our organization who hold Second Class tickets – detached spectators who show up but don’t want to get too involved. Their name goes on the roster, they even include their membership on their resume…but that’s about it. It happens in every organization.
But thankfully, there are also a few who are willing to hold Third Class tickets – willing to get out and push when the going gets tough.
We tend to equate First Class with privilege – exempt from doing any work… But is success really remaining seated while others get out and push, or is it getting your hands and feet dirty? Is success being served or serving others?
No one really CHOOSES to travel Third Class…but today, more than ever, we NEED people who are willing to travel Third Class and get a little mud on their shoes. So I ask you – are you willing to hold a Third Class ticket?
Third Class ticket holders have a heart for service. They don’t mind working behind the scenes. They are people who have made a conscious decision to get involved or join an organization whose entire reason for existence is to change the world! They are people who are willing to get out and push!!
“Be A Gift To The World” is the theme for Rotary International this year…but it’s more than a theme. It’s our stagecoach! And we are the passengers.
If we just sit in our First Class seat & expect everyone else to get behind and push, what will happen to Rotary (or any organization you are a part of)? We’ll never reach our goals – to end polio, to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, to bring about world peace – every organization in the world already has too many First Class passengers. We’re looking for a few more Third Class passengers!
We all have to get behind the load and help! It’s not easy – to be willing to chair a fundraiser or a special event, or to organize volunteers, or to take ANY position of leadership – but just imagine the wealth of possibilities if you are willing to be a Third Class passenger in your Rotary Club or your volunteer service organization!
What are you willing to do? Are you willing to be a leader instead of a spectator? My passion for Rotary is membership & social media – growing our organization with folks who have a heart for service…seeing how much more we can accomplish with more people doing the work…sharing our messages around the world… But maybe your passion is eradicating polio… We are LITERALLY “this close” to removing this disease from the face of the planet!! Only two more countries – Pakistan & Afghanistan – are still endemic. Doesn’t that make you excited!!?? I’m grateful there are people like Nancy Barbee & John Nanni in Rotary who are PASSIONATE about ending polio! And I’m grateful for people like Anne Matthews who is PASSIONATE about providing clean water to people who need it. And I’m grateful for people like Henry Hoffmeyer in my own club in Hendersonville, NC, who is PASSIONATE about The Rotary Foundation. You see, you don’t need everyone in your organization to have the same passion! Maybe you will be passionate about international projects, or giving dictionaries to third graders, or providing food and shelter for those who are homeless. That’s what makes our organization – & YOUR organization – so successful. So my advice to you – as you embark on this adventure of being a “Third Class Ticketholder” – is to find YOUR passion…and make it your purpose!
Take advantage of the opportunities you’re going to receive from your membership in Rotary or whatever organization you choose. Be a doer…Be a leader…Be a servant…Be an innovator…Be a collaborator… But most importantly, be a third-class ticketholder!