Corona is not the only outbreak
We certainly did not see this one coming. At Alpenglow, we have been scheduling trips and partnering with different organizations to host in-person Behavioral First Responders and organizing trips and courses. We have been planning international programming and been partnering with some of the biggest names in the outdoor field, like REI. Now that the corona outbreak is here, like the rest of the world, we have been brought to a halt.
Our reaction likely has been the same as many folks. At first, we were thinking it would be a big deal in the media, then it would be addressed and mitigated, then it would blow over. When that didn't happen, we still kept hoping that soon, it would follow that outline- that it would blow over soon enough but with a bit more impact than we expected. Call it our ego-centrism. It was happing "there" to "those other people", not "us". So we hoped it would stay "there" and we could keep doing our thing.
Now we know that is not the case. Now we see what is happening around the world, to people's families and loved ones. We see how the world has essentially shut down. Of course, Alpenglow has shut down too. The next several months of programming that we have been working the past year for is shut down. As a small business, this has been devastating in the financial realm. But money is just money, we can always make more. People are irreplaceable.
So far, that is what we have been reflecting on. Money is just mone
unimportant compared to what some people are
facing today. The priority is people. We are not alone in this sentiment. In the midst of the corona outbreak, there's been another outbreak: one of kindness.
In the process of canceling programming, we have customers who are disappointed. We have folks who have booked travel that is non-refundable. We have made deposits on lodging. We have purchased permits. We have booked third-party vendors. We have paid fees through the company our customers make payments through. For our operation, we have put out a lot of money.
As we have been undoing months and months of work, we have been overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and willingness to pitch in for the greater good. Our payment platform waived their fees, allowing us to refund our customers in full without losing thousands of dollars. Lodging contracts have refunded in full. Food delivery services have waived their fees so people can stay home and still support businesses. Our business insurance company is delaying payments until income starts coming in again. Tons of companies are offering their products for free, like online learning services.
Yes, there are people hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and frozen foods. But we have found that kindness is prevailing.