Life is like a choice of restaurants. You never know where you’re gonna eat. Until you read this…

DSCN0158It was day one of a recent trip to California.  My daughter and I were getting our bearings and seeking out a good first meal.

We were staying in Los Angeles near Universal Studios but had no desire to go there. Theme parks were not on our radar for this excursion.

Grumpy and hungry from our long journey, we read that there was a food area adjoining the theme park that didn’t require an admittance fee. Good enough, so off we trekked.

Wandering around the village of gift shops, ice-cream parlours, and restaurants, we were pondering our options when we saw it – Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.*

We both like shrimp so the decision was made.

Was it the chance to savour tasty crustaceans that swayed us or something else entirely?

DSCN0038Every other restaurant we passed, we checked the menu and decided whether or not to keep it on our ‘options list’. When we saw Bubba Gump’s, the list dissolved and with menu unseen, we decided to go.

Before even entering the establishment, I was smiling, excited about what was in store for us.

I imagined the menu would read something like this:

“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” ~Bubba

I wondered what movie memorabilia they might have.

But really, the let’s-get-down-to-it-honestly-true reason I wanted to go there was not because of the possibility of trying shrimp creole but because, like I suspect anyone who has seen the movie Forrest Gump, I wanted to be a part of that story; to re-live how it made me feel when I watched it the first time, and the second, and the third…

Why? Because Forrest is my friend. I am endeared to him, and to Jenny, and to Mama, and by extension, to Tom Hanks (but I’ve been endeared to him since Bosom Buddies).

I didn’t really care what was on the menu. DSCN0042

I wanted to experience Forrest’s story first-hand.

So by eating at this commercial establishment, with their gift shop of souvenirs, I supported this chain because it made me feel good to do so.

And I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. In fact, they exceeded my expectations.

Now I’m not writing this to promote the restaurant, but let me ask you this: given the choice between Shrimps R Us and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., even if the menus and chefs were the same, where would you be inclined to eat? Then ask yourself, why?

Stories touch our hearts. They engage our compassion. They become a part of us.

It’s not just “the movie” that we connected with (Tom Hanks’ brilliant portrayal, the stellar script, the cinematography, the direction…), but it was “the story” of Forrest and his experiences throughout his life. (Remember, Forrest is a fictional character – so why do we connect with him?)

Think about:

  • the last good book you read
  • the last tv commercial that touched your heart
  • the news item that you still remember three days later
  • the things you read or hear that you share with your friends

I’ll bet the ones you remember most all had compelling stories.

People remember stories. 

People will connect with your business if they know your stories. DSCN0040

Stories and loyal customers “goes together like peas and carrots”.

‘My name’s Carolin Rathbun. People call me Carolin Rathbun.’ (Couldn’t resist.)  If you’re ready to share your stories and start creating loyal customers, I’d be happy to help. 


*We’ve never been to Bubba Gump’s before nor was I aware it was an actual restaurant; Canada has not been infiltrated, yet. (This post is not meant to endorse a particular food chain, movie, or theme park but merely to illustrate a point.)

Share below how Forrest Gump, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., or a story affected a decision you’ve made to support a group or business.

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