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  • Other Gifts

    Share an Umbrella – a Gift On a Rainy Day

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    Have you ever forgotten an umbrella on a rainy day? Or are you always prepared for bad weather, but you pity those who aren’t? This autumn I suffered in both situations, but I no longer intend to. I am launching a new campaign: Share an Umbrella!

    Will a stranger share an umbrella?

    Imagine that you are soaking wet at a bus stop while an elegant woman is standing nearby with a huge umbrella. You’re starting to shiver, but still can’t make up your mind: say something? Sneak in under the umbrella, hoping she wouldn’t notice? Or greet your teeth and not disturb the intimate sphere of a total stranger?

    I know the decision is not easy. As most of you, I usually chose the third option. ‘What would she think of me?!?’ you may try to justify your decision. ‘What if she just snaps at me and moves away? Or pretends she didn’t hear me?’ Well, what if?

    You will keep soaking.

    So, technically speaking, you will lose nothing trying. And your gains may include dry clothes, good health and money to spend on other things than medicine.

    Anything else?

    Most probably the person you approach with a simple ‘Hello! May I cover from the rain under your umbrella?’ will be glad to help. Maybe you will even strike up a conversation? You will, naturally, begin with discussing the weather. But if you travel by the same bus, you may even exchange your phone numbers and make friends.

    Did I miss any advantages?

    Share an umbrella, too!

    What can YOU do when you have an umbrella, and you are unaffected by weather conditions? Share your umbrella with others! Getting near to the bus stop, look around to see who needs your help. During peak hours, you may choose among many poor souls with whom you may share your umbrella!

    Most people don’t like others pitying them; therefore, you may feel uncomfortable offering your help. Try similar words: ‘Hello! Would you mind if I shared my umbrella with you?‘ which should work also in this situation.

    Furthermore, it is much better to openly engage in umbrella sharing and to tell the people you approach what you want from them than to sneak and hope they won’t notice. I know what I’m talking about because I have tried doing both things in both situations, and – believe me – open communication proved much easier and more pleasant.

    Share an umbrella – a useful device

    Introverts who would like to share their umbrella with others, but don’t know how to begin, would definitely enjoy using Umbrella here. The device has the form of a plastic disk placed on top of an umbrella. The disk lights up like a New York taxi when the owner wants to share the umbrella with ‘passengers’. Thanks to this others immediately know which umbrella is free and open to strangers, and the owner doesn’t have to look for guests or even say a word.

    The producers of ‘Umbrella here’ equipped it with some additional functionalities:

    • On sunny days, ‘Umbrella here’ is a weather station (it changes colours depending on the temperature and reminds the owner to take an umbrella when it is going to rain).
    • Owing to a special sensor, ‘Umbrella here’ makes it possible to find a lost umbrella.
    • If you enter the time and location on a dedicated website, ‘Umbrella here’ will also help you find the person who shared his or her umbrella with you if you have made friends but had to part before you exchanged numbers.

    The device costs USD 40 + shipping cost from Hong Kong, and is not very popular yet.

    For the time being, when you want to make someone a gift on a rainy day, you need to say something. I encourage you to share your umbrellas as frequently as possible. Maybe in the future someone will come up with a much simpler idea of an umbrella with ‘WELCOME’ printed on it.

    Share your experience with umbrella sharing in the comments below. I can’t wait to read about your adventures. Maybe they will encourage others to try umbrella sharing, too!

    My advice:

    – If you also enjoy being nice to strangers, read about another campaign that I launched in spring: A gift for drivers parking on pavements‘.

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