A memorable incident occurred five weeks ago – one I’m convinced will be a milestone in my life.

This incident occurred just before I met Cullen Haynes – the 35th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers.

I arrived early for our lunch. I walked into the restaurant. I saw a man sitting on his own.

It was Adam Goodes, the former Sydney Swans superstar and 2014 Australian of the Year.

The mantra of my 17th lunch companion, Julie Trell, started ringing in my ears: “It never hurts to ask.” 

The old Nick wouldn’t have done anything. But ever since I started meeting wonderful strangers like Julie, I’ve started to realise how much more we can achieve in life if we cast aside our limiting beliefs.

So I decided to ask.

“Excuse me, Adam,” I said, after approaching his table. “My name is Nick. I’m in the process of having lunch with 500 strangers. I was wondering if you wanted to have lunch with me?”

The moment of truth. What would he say?

“Sorry, I’m waiting to meet my wife and five-month-old daughter,” he replied.

I suddenly realised my question had been poorly phrased. I wanted to explain to Adam that I wasn’t suggesting we have lunch then and there; I was suggesting we have lunch in the future. However, I thought it would be rude to argue the point if his family was about to arrive. So I decided to make a graceful exit.

“Of course, Adam,” I said. “Thank you for your time.”

As I started walking away, he made one final remark: “But I really like your idea.”

After my lunch with Cullen, I sent Adam a message on LinkedIn, asking if he wanted to have lunch on another date. He never replied.

Still, it never hurts to ask.