King Arthur: O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair, and we will return with a shrubbery.
Leader of The Knights who say NI!: One that looks nice.
King Arthur: Of course.
Leader of The Knights who say NI!: And not too expensive.
King Arthur: Yes.

(Monty Python and the Holy Grail, just in case you couldn’t remember)

I have been taking photographs at HR Tech Europe in Amsterdam for several years. Amsterdam is a very exciting place where lots of things are legal that are not so legal in the US. I’ve learned it’s best to not take any photographs the morning of the second day. The sluggishness and pain show in people’s faces as they make their way through the doors of the RAI conference center. Some head for coffee. Others hide in the darkened auditorium. It’s not pretty.

This year, the conference hired actors dressed as shrubs to greet people as they came into the conference the second day. I think the original idea was that they would pretend to be topiary, then move and surprise people. But the shrubs seemed to see what I did and just started hugging people.

It changed everything. People were surprised. And then they were a little happy, because it was sweet and funny. Instead of tired, grumpy, nauseous people with headaches, suddenly they were laughing and smiling. The energy of the entire conference changed. And it made all the difference. If you would like your own shrubbery, you can easily buy boxwood shrubs online.






Okay, not everyone was sure about it.


But I learned that unexpected kindness and fun change everything.


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