A Culture of Kindness

A woman came up to me in a restroom at a Chamber of Commerce building recently and, with tears in her eyes, asked if I could spare 92 cents.  She seemed very sincere when she explained that her daughter had called and told her she needed her since she was very sick.  The woman hopped on her bicycle and was trying to travel the 30 miles to her daughter’s house when she realized she could not make it the entire way.  She was 92 cents short of having enough bus fare to get to her daughter.  My heart went out to her, and I handed her a dollar.  She practically fell to the floor in relief and thanked me profusely through her tears.  I felt terrific the rest of the day.

Please be aware that I do not typically give handouts to strangers.  I see people on the streets asking for help almost every day, and rarely do anything about it.  Maybe it’s because those situations seem less random, or because I generally prefer to give to organizations rather than individuals.  Whatever the reason, this particular situation was unique.

Have you ever given or received a random act of kindness?  How did it make you feel?  My experience with the woman made me wonder what could happen if a company implemented an act of kindness week.  What if each and every employee was asked to perform a kind act for a vendor, a customer or a co-worker every day for a full week?  What if you praised or rewarded some of the kindest acts in front of the team?  Do you think that might encourage more of that behavior?  Just imagine the potential positive impact!  If those acts of kindness became a habit and part of your company culture, do you think your company might prosper?  Why not give it a try and let me know how it goes?

photo by: Jeff Kubina