I’ve been a member of the downtown New Orleans Rotary club since May of 2009. Rotary is a lot of different things to someone, totally depending on that person. I usually just say it’s a “service organization” and direct them to wikipedia since it’s hard to explain sometimes. Each club is very different from the next but overall it has the same general goal of “service”. It’s sometimes my favorite part of the week going and seeing the people there and hearing what the speaker has to say.
I’ve been lucky enough to serve on the board twice now, but every week I run a 50/50 raffle. I honestly can’t even remember who suggested it. “We used to run a raffle, you should start it back up”. Every week people line up with money in hand to buy a chance to pull a card. As the odds get better, it gets more stressful as people buy more and more tickets. When it gets down to 3 cards and the chances are extremely high that you will get 50% of the pot, it feels like being a cashier at Wal*Mart on Black Friday.
So it’s been getting exciting because we have gone through the entire deck and there is a ton of money in the pot. The next meeting is our Rotary crawfish boil in Manning’s courtyard. I’m excited about this. I don’t even eat crawfish but I love the social aspect of a crawfish boil. This has nothing to do with the open bar that Mannings was providing.
At the end of the meeting before someone asked the president if we were having the raffle at the crawfish boil. Eyes turn to me and I yell “of course”.
We sell a lot of tickets. Way more then usual. 1 out of 3 chance to get $2k? Okay here is $50, thanks.
Towards the end I was hustling people at their table’s trying to sell just a few more tickets because there are 3 cards, I’m trying to help you get a chance to win some money. Buy some tickets. Why do you hate Rotary, buy some tickets. I’ve refused to help people use the little stamp to validate their parking unless they bought tickets first.
Anyway, Johnny came up to me and bought the tickets and told me that if he won he’s going to donate the money to Michael Guillot’s son. Michael had been Johnny’s coach in school and always liked seeing him every week.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, said “Nice! That’s cool of you” and went back to the ticket sales. I’m not sure how many people he told this to, never asked.
There has been discussion previously if the raffle was for members only and that guests and visiting Rotarians can’t participate in it. It’s not, it’s open to anyone. The more people playing means more money going to Rotary, it’s open to everyone.
So it’s time to pull the winning ticket. I jump up on a chair and announce it’s happening.
The ticket is pulled and the number is read. Silence. Then Johnny puts up his hand with the ticket and walks up.
The cards are laid out on a table. He pulls the middle card.
Ace of spades.
I completely lose it, no way.
Talk about a way to humble a service organization.