How Positivity Prevailed at a PEI Drive-In

How Positivity Prevailed at a PEI Drive-In

I was speaking with a friend in Prince Edward Island recently, and as we chatted about the weather like Canadians tend to do, she told me about a severe thunder and lightning storm that caused significant damage across the island. She mentioned a small business, a popular drive-in theatre, suffered quite a blow due to a lightning strike. Lightning struck a piece of computer equipment that prevented the drive-in from playing the new releases they’d been advertising.

When she shared that, I was immediately reminded of a time when I was a little girl here in Saskatchewan.  My family had gone on our annual summer trip to Lake Manitou Beach and this time we were also going to be going to their beloved drive-in theatre to watch “Benji”.  As a little blonde haired girl and big blue eyes who had seen and heard of the legendary drive-in many times and so much wanted a puppy, I was SO excited! Imagine my disappointment finding out that because of a storm, we could not longer go to the show. 

I felt for those people who’d been looking forward to visiting that drive-in theatre in Prince Edward Island. And in an age of fewer and fewer such businesses in operations, I wondered if it was going to be the end of an era of drive-in theatres in PEI.

My friend though shared that rather than shutting down operations until their equipment was repaired, this PEI business owner created something good from a bad situation.

They weren’t able to use their computer, but they still had a functional projector which would allow them to play DVDs. So, they opened for business (the day following the storm), and rather than charging regular admission, they operated on a “pay what you can” basis, and requested donations to the local food bank.

A brilliant idea...

To me, that PEI business owner took the realities before him/her, served as a leader and uplifted the community in 3 key ways:

  1. By having “the show must go on mentality” he/she demonstrated to those around them that a “woe is me” attitude isn’t necessary at these times
  2. By opening up for more people to come to enjoy an evening at the drive-in with the “pay what you can” approach
  3. By serving this event as a way for the community to support others through the donations to the local food bank and for community members to come together, like they would have in the past, at a time of much damage to rest, relax and enjoy, even if it is for short while after the sun is down.

This business owner, in this instance, walked as a leader in the community when others would have said “poor me.”  He/she gave what they could and chose to stand in possibility instead of folding.

With all the change that is around us in our world, I believe that we all could easily face a moment like that. It is indeed a challenge to stand in possibility and positivity when the chips are down, but this entrepreneur made it work.

The challenge at the core is, what would we choose to do in similar circumstances: To stand in possibility or stand in defeat? 

As leaders in our communities, I encourage each of us to be inspired by this one small business owner of a legendary driven-in in PEI and ask ourselves, what can I do and stand in possibility today?


Interested in listening to an audio on this topic where Donna delves into this a bit more? Then click here to listen to her podcast episode.