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Angel Gives Dying Father Wedding Moment

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(By Michael Quintanilla. This aricle, of same title, was posted by Michael in the  San Antonio news paper, and then again in Houston Chronicals.)

During the holiday season, generosity shows up in expected ways: a free turkey and pie dinner at the convention center, a toy drive by Elf Louise, coins tossed into a Salvation Army kettle.
And then sometimes a minute of kindness among strangers – the sort that brings home the heart of Christmas – materializes when least expected. That’s what happened to bride-to-be Chrysalis Autry, 26, when she walked into the Bridal Salon of San Antonio two days after Thanksgiving and met the shop’s owner, Amy Wells.
On Thanksgiving night, after a house full of relatives said good night, Autry’s father, Jack, 65, an accomplished girls basketball coach at Holmes High School, was rushed by EMS to Methodist Hospital; in September he had received a diagnosis of melanoma.
He insisted that his daughter, who will graduate in May from the dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center, keep her appointment to try on wedding gowns for her mother, her future mother-in-law and other relatives visiting from Houston.

Ten dresses later, Chrysalis settled on an ivory duchess silk and satin dress. But Chrysalis told Wells she couldn’t buy the gown right then and there. Her father was in the hospital, terribly ill. The family needed to hold onto their money.

It was then that Wells, a woman of profound faith in God and trust in people, insisted that Chrysalis “take this gown and veil to the hospital and wear it for your daddy now. Please do it.”

Chrysalis fell into Wells’ arms, crying. She called her mother, Madelyn, into the dressing room and soon she, too, was in tears.

Wells packed the gown and hugged Chrysalis goodbye. No credit card was taken, no deposit exchanged.
Wells didn’t know the young woman’s last name and didn’t ask for a phone number.
Chrysalis remembers asking Wells, “What if we get the dress dirty?” Wells replied, “It’s a piece of fabric.”
Says Wells about that day: “I knew it was fine. There was no doubt in my mind to do this. God was talking to me.”

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Three hours later, after arranging to have one of her two brothers, R.J. Autry, meet them at the hospital with a video camera, the family – and wedding dress – were on the 10th floor where her father, heavily medicated to keep him comfortable, she says, was resting.
Behind the suite’s sliding doors, Chrysalis put on the gown and veil as family members awoke her father on the other side of the suite.
The doors were slowly opened, and there stood Chrysalis, engulfed in a dropped-waist pouf of 15 yards of layered, billowing silk. Her father was able to stay alert for 20 seconds.
“But those 20 seconds were magical,” Chrysalis says.
“My daddy saw me walk in wearing the most beautiful dress. He was really weak. He smiled and just kept looking at me. I held his hand, and he held mine. I asked him if I looked like a princess. He always called me that, a little princess. He nodded. He looked at me a little more, and it almost looked like he was about to cry. And then he went to sleep.”
Three days later, Jack Autry, husband of 42 years and father of three grown children, died.
His funeral followed four days after. (One of Chrysalis’ friends returned the dress to the shop the day her father died.)
Chrysalis has returned to her studies. She and her fiance, Mark Heinkel, 28, are planning to get married Oct. 28 at the Southwest School of Art.
Other wedding-day details must be worked out during the next 10 months, but one thing is for certain: the wedding dress.
“I want that to be the dress,” she says, recalling the gentleness expressed by Wells on that day in November, a gesture that has meant so much more to Chrysalis because of the holidays – a message of simple kindness she does not want to get lost in the hustle of the season.
“This woman had never met me before. She trusted me and showed me that there are still some really good people out there, special people in this world,” she says about Wells’ compassion.
“It’s every little girl’s dream to have her dad see her in a wedding dress. She let my dad and I have that amazing moment.”

Walk In Your Value™

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 5.18.59 PMIt was one sentence, one phrase, that changed my life and changed my business. It can change yours too.
At a live event, Bob Burg, co-author of The Go-Giver and author of my second favorite book next to the BibleAdversaries into Allies, spoke on “The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success,” focusing on the difference between selling based on price versus selling based on value. Something shifted in me, and neither my life nor my business has been the same ever since.
In addition to owning AWE, my speaking company, I own The Bridal Salon of San Antonio. That day, while sitting under Bob’s teaching, in regards to my bridal business, I asked myself the question, “What value does my team provide our clients?” Have you ever asked yourself that question?
I began to write what our team has that no other salon can offer. One of the things I wrote is “us.” No other store has our team, our experience, nor our unique way of connecting with brides and their families.
I went back to the Bridal Salon to tell the team all about The Go-Giver and that we were “no longer going to give discounts, because we are walking in our value from this day forward.” Have you ever proposed a change to your team, only to be laughed at? They didn’t like the idea. They knew our brides had been conditioned by our industry – and quite frankly by me and my team – to seek out a discount. Selling at full price was out of their comfort zone and mine. They said, “Oh so we will Go-Giver our commisions away?” LOL I told them “No, no I believe in this with all my heart, and we are going to do it.”  I assured them that I would show them how.
When the first client came in that day and requested a discount, my team tried Walk In Your Value™ walk, but the mother of the bride would have nothing of that. She wanted what she wanted, and she was demanding a discount.  One of my teammates came to my office to tell me that the mom was upset and she wanted to talk with me “RIGHT NOW.” With my newly determined value, I went into the show room “to teach my team how to sell based on communicating value. How they can “Walk In Your Value.™”  I must admit, I did it ugly that first time, but I did it.
There stood the mom of the bride, leaning on the mirror with her arms crossed and a not-so-happy look on her face. (Gulp, yikes…I asked myself, what happened here? I can…I know I can…I can do this. My team is watching, and I am the leader.) By this time, a few of my teammates had frozen in their spot and waited for me to show them how you  “Walk In Your Value™.” (As if….Kiss)
Two of them stood on the other side of the bride, leaning in, all wide-eyed and watching. Another, Lori,  was by the counter behind me, but I could see her through the reflection of the mirror. Her mouth was wide open in wonderment. The bride was standing on the pedestal facing the mirror that her mom leaned on.  So I smiled, and then moved over to stand next to the bride.
The mom in a very firm thick accent said “HAmy I spect morrrre frrrrrom you.” (Roll your R’s and you’ll hear her.) In the reflection of the mirror, I saw Lori drop to the floor behind the counter. I know she was belly laughing.
I looked at her mom, smiled while trying to hold back my dramatic raised-eyebrow look, and said, “You know what, and MORE is what I’ll give you. I’ll give you…”
While speaking with the mom, I moved my focus from her to the bride. I began to primp the bride: worked on her veil and played with her dress, as I finished showing my team how you “Walk In Your Value™.  “…I will give you 19 years of experience. I will give you the delivery of a perfect dress, for the perfect day that your daughter has been dreaming of all her life.”  I said a little bit more before the mom said, “Ho-kay H-Amy, tell me everything I need to know, forrrr my daughter’s wedding, forrrr her perfect day. Tell me your expertise.”
Ha ha, I just had told her all my expertise. LOL It is important to note here, that what we think is valuable to a client, is irrelevant. It is wht the client finds of value that matters. Do you know what your clients value most form your service?
Drawing on my experience and of teh many things brides had told me was important to them, I did my best to communicate those things to her. I went from the top of her head to the soles of her feet, and I gladly shared every valuable piece of advice that my years of experience had taught me about the things that matter most to brides for their wedding day.
The mom and bride listened intently, and when I finished, I asked if there was anything else they want to ask. The mom said “NO,” and she turned to leave. I quickly said, “The way to get your gown is to put half down, and I will place the order, and it will arrive in 12-16 weeks.” The mom never looked back. I told the bride I should measure her now, just in case they want to call me back to place the order. I quickly measured the bride, as her mom was already in her car. LOL
After the bride left, my team was bent over in laughter AT me, certainly not with me. They literally mocked me.  After I finally laughed with them, I said “No, no, I believe in this.  We ARE going to do it.”
Well, the next day the phone rings, and it was the bride.  She excitedly said “Amy, I’m getting the dress,” and she added, “Not only does my mom want me to get the dress, she wants me to pay the full amount today, not just the 50% deposit.”  I finished the transaction before walking around the Salon, strutting a little bit (well more than a little….I taunted a bit as well), saying, “Oh YEAH, that’s the way you walk in value.”
After I shared this story with Bob Burg, he said he believed the fact that I walked in my value provided the mom with a great feeling of confidence. She knew her daughter was going to be taken care of with excellence in the best way possible on this most important day. This caused her to understand that the retail price she’d pay would still be far exceeded by the value they’d receive. 
About a week later, the phone rang and it was a girl with a very thick accent. She said, “Hi, Amy, my name is Adrianna, and my Tia said I must let you help me get my dress because of your expertise.” I asked, “Who is your Tia?” (Tia is an aunt.) She named the godmother. Bob, says that the mom is not only a good client, she is now a personal walking ambassador.
From that day to this day, only one time I fell off the value wagon. Only one time I gave a discount: I offered a discount, and we didn’t get the bride. We didn’t get to help her.
Now when people ask about a bulk discount for, perhaps, getting twelve bridesmaids, I’m able to tell them, “No, you have twelve bridesmaids, and we will give you twelve times the service. From that day to this day, for anybody we’ve said, “no” concerning a discount while communicating our value to them, they have gotten their dresses from us.
We have netted over an additional $10,000 every month since the day I began doing that after attending Bob Burg‘s live speaking event.
There aren’t enough words to say about how walking in value has changed my life and the life of everybody with whom I connect.
I’m thoroughly convinced that if you get the Law of Value on a heart level and walk in it, then the other four laws will fall into place, because everything we do and every Stratospheric Success that we have is based on the value that we offer to people, and not just what we offer, but our ability to communicate it. I highly recommend The Go-Giver, and I highly recommend walking in value.
Have you asked and answered yourself, “What value do I offer my clients?”  Please leave your answers in the comment section.
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