Thank you for the opportunity to share this story:
I am a professional problem solver in the document management industry. Recently, I was in my office–I seldom am unless I am making phone calls to set up face-to-face appointments–when a sweet woman on the cusp of octogenarian status walked in.
“I doubt if you can help me,” she began. “I have a book proposal that I need to send to a local publisher. I’ve written it in long hand, but the publisher requires it to be typed and my computer just died. Kinko’s wants $65 to type it and I think that’s outrageous.”
“Well, I’d be willing to type it for you,” I offered.
“How much would you charge me?” she asked.
“It’s only a couple pages. I could do it for lunch money. Does that sound fair?”
“Fair? It sounds like a gift!”
I made a copy of her proposal and told her I could get it back to her within a couple days.
Two days later I was driving to my office down the main drag when I spotted a street sign. I recognized it as her street and did a quick U-turn and found her address. I called her on my cell phone and told her I was outside her house and had finished typing the proposal. She was floored that I had not only typed the document as I had promised, but that I was now hand-delivering it.
She invited me into her home and introduced me to her new husband.
“How much do I owe you? And please don’t say I don’t have to pay you anything.”
“I won’t take your money,” I replied, “but here’s what you can do for me. Number one, you can send me an autographed copy of your book when it’s published. Number two, I’m sure you know plenty of people in this town that I might be able to help.”
And with the slightest prodding from me, she gave me five referrals!
Because I was willing to help an old woman by giving her thirty minutes of my time, I made a new friend and picked up five new leads that I hadn’t worked with before.
Pass it on, indeed.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I have been reading and buying your products for almost as long as you have been writing. Several months ago I was making sales call and stopped for lunch. Someone arrived at the front door of the diner at the same time I did. I held the door open and said, “Someone should be nice to you today, and it’s my turn!” I got a BIG GRIN and a thank you.
Making calls in the same area a month later I walked into a conference room, got ready for my presentation, and to my surprise the DECISION MAKER was the same person I had held the door for 4 weeks earlier. Needless to say, I believe this will turn into one of my best customers. There was instant connection from that one kind gesture.
Jim Beisel, NCR Corporation
Last week we were working at the Master’s Tournament, meeting with our customers who attended, and making sure that they had all of their arrangements in order.
One customer lost their golf umbrella while unloading their private aircraft, and called to see if we had found the umbrella at the airport. Unfortunately, with all of the traffic at the airport the golf umbrella was long gone. I called our HQ and had one of our sales coordinators send a golf umbrella with our company logo on it to arrive the next morning. When it came, I brought it to the customer’s hotel with a note, “Sorry that you lost your umbrella, but maybe this will help you.” We were able to get some corporate exposure on the golf course, and we were able to make a favorable impression on the customer.
I received a nice thank you note this last week telling us how much he appreciated our efforts.
Gordon G. Ramsay
Years ago there used to be a little restaurant in Charlotte Plaza called “Nelsons” after the owner, Nelson Bass, who also owned/ran College Place Restaurant in one of the Wachovia buildings. Nelson Bass was the nicest man you’d ever want to meet – never a cross word, always positive. One day while getting my usual for breakfast at Nelsons, a man walked in – he was obviously homeless and looked pretty down on his luck. He held out his hand to one of Mr. Bass’s employees and had some change and asked what he could get based on the amount of change he had. Nelson, who was always around and in the mix of things saw this and said – “Hey, isn’t it your birthday today?” He looked at the employee and said “Anything and everything for this man – it’s his birthday today”. That has been probably 12 years ago and to this day it still brings tears to my eyes. I will never forget Nelson Bass.
Sarah Hutto Funkhouser
Charlotte, North Carolina
Funny that you should write an article on act of kindness because I recently had someone do one for me which included YOUR BOOK.
I recently started working for Hallsmith-SYSCO corp in Norton MA as an outside sales Rep. I only go into the office maybe once a week so being the NEW girl, it’s difficult finding my place. I have your Little Red book of Sales Questions and had been wanting to get the next one.
While walking by a co-workers desk I noticed that she had “The Answer” book from you that I wanted.
It made me stop in my tracks and talk to her about it. I asked her if she was reading it and if she enjoyed it? She said “It’s Yours”
I looked at her puzzled. Here is what she said……………
I love to go to Barnes and Noble. I spend hours in that store every now and again I buy a book for someone else. I put that book out on my desk with the intention that the first sales person who walks by and notices it, will be the new owner.
2 weeks later it happened ME! Yippee. This book was mine. She made my day, I didn’t feel arkward as the new girl that day, I had won a precious prize for being inquizative and attemping to make conversation with someone new.
She did say that many SALES REPS walked right by her desk and not one of them noticed.
Later when I was spreading my news other sales reps said “I saw that book, and was going to comment on it BUT I did not”
There are a few morals to this story and act of kindness.
I don’t know why I find myself writing this email, perhaps because it made me feel so good to do this “Random Act of Kindness” that I am trying to relive the moment by retelling it.
On a recent Saturday morning visit to Home Depot, (the kind of Saturday where “it’s going to rain for the rest of the weekend later today so let’s get everything done right now” Saturday morning) I was walking into the store when just outside the door I spotted an elderly woman (who had difficulty walking) who was quite distressed because they was not a cart of any size around for her to use. I saw her ask several people if they had seen an extra cart.
She had a long list in her hands, she was going to need a cart.
I saw a couple unpacking their cart way out in a corner of the parking lot, so I walked out to them and when they finished emptying it I asked for it and went back to the entranceway and presented it to this elderly woman.
“For me?” she asked in disbelief with a look on her face that I will probably never forget. “Thank you so much” she continued “I hope you win the lottery”
“So do I!” I said “So do I.” But in the long run something deep inside tells me the memory of the look on her face is probably worth more.
Linda A. Boisselle
Dear Jeffrey and team,
I was in a sales role until recently and must confess to you now that I had considered stopping my subscription to your newsletter. I had mistakenly believed my time would be better spent reading something more focused to my new role. This was until just now where I received your latest article containing the random popcorn acts of kindness. A great story and one that hit home instantly, if only more salespeople that I deal with took time to show acts of kindness I thought.
Almost immediately after reading I received a call from someone who wanted me to work with them for a few months, I took my new found positive persona out for a test drive from the kick off. At the end of the call the usually stern finance manager thanked me for considering their role and even changed the dates to fit in with my timescales. All I did was take the level of courtesy and politeness I give to all my emails and apply it to a phone call.
Many thanks for your input, it seems as though I’m back in sales only this time it’s me I’m selling!
Needless to say your subscription stays.
Kindest regards Tristan
I’ll put $10 or $20 in an evevelope addressed to “For You.” I leave it on a picnic table in a park, on the sidewalk, wherever. I include a note that says, “This money is for you. I don’t believe in chance. I believe that God knew you would find this gift. And I believe He’ll direct you how to use it. Maybe to spend on yourself, maybe on someone else, maybe a little bit of both. It’s up to you. I give because I find joy in giving. I hope you find joy in receiving. Blessings.”
I enjoyed your “popcorn” story and pretty much every ezine I receive. Thanks!!!! I do volunteer music (acoustic guitar) therapy, if you want to call it that, at hospitals where I live every Monday evening after work. I enjoy playing for patients from room to room and they seem to enjoy it as well. I have a few songs I’m really good at and since I usually don’t see the same ones again, it allows me to do something special for them. They ask if I play professionally or have CD’s, so this tells me it must be fairly good. I use this to decompress myself (the instrumental music mostly old hymns and old country ballads, Tennessee Waltz,etc. is very relaxing) and it literally helps folks in the hospital to relax. I’ve put many a folks to sleep (hopefully I don’t do this in my sales visits as well). I’d recommend anyone to find a volunteer position that allows them to give to others, and doing random acts of kindness will obviously prove to brighten your day as well as the ones around you. The key is to do something that you are comfortable with and good at, don’t force it. I doubt anyone will want your do good acts if it doesn’t come from the heart. People aren’t as stupid as some of us salesmen think they are. As the old saying goes ” People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care… and then and only then, they might be impressed with how much you know”
Greenville, South Carolina
As I was reading your sales caffeine, our wellness coordinator at the retirement community where I am a marketing rep came into my office….we have a contest among our communities across the country for total minutes accumulated for excersize and wellness acts…one is drinking enough water….I complained I could not drink the amount recommended the day before…She came in this morning with a water bottle with our company logo on it, full of ice cold water and “Good Morning Beautiful” written on the top…and “Drink Me” on the bottom! I felt this was encouraging and motivating and a very postive way to get her message across to me! I am working on drinking it all….
Debra L Anderson
It feels incredible when someone does a random act of kindness for you, but I think the doing of an act of kindness gives you even more. I was recently flying to the Mid West for business and during the boarding process I noticed a blind passenger with a service dog boarding also. During the de-boarding process I heard the flight attendants discussing who would help the blind passenger to the baggage claim. It was clear neither wanted to take the extra time to assist this passenger. As I came off the plane he was standing at the end of the jet way waiting for assistance. I was amazed how people were bumping into him and not offering assistance. When I reached him I told him I was going to baggage claim and I would be happy to help him to retrieve his luggage. He was delighted for the offer. We had a nice chat as we walked to baggage claim and found that we were in a similar line of work, we both sold computer hard ware and software. I helped him find his luggage and helped him to the taxi stand. I felt incredible to help someone in need. Maybe the flight attendants and the other passengers that passed this man by had not had the popcorn handed to then in a long time.
Loved your observations on how the combination of a positive attitude, with just a little outreach can make ripples of “decentness” go out from all of us throughout the day. There’s currently a national TV commercial ( can’t remember the brand) that takes just this tack, as it shows people helping moms pushing strollers, someone backing up too far, etc.
I’m not a REAL touchy feely guy, and probably a bit reserved in a lot of my interactions with strangers, but your piece brought back to me how “what goes around, comes around”…
I think today, I’ll be on the alert for opportunities to keep my potential for human “decentness” rolling, even if it sometimes entails just smiling at others.
After reading your article today I felt a sense of shame. At one time a while back I ran across a website that gave a story of a young man that was the ultimate in the art of doing anonymous deeds for people without ever wanting or expecting anything in return. If I remember correctly this person had died prematurely and a group of people that knew him started carrying on his acts of kindness and even had cards made up to the effect of “You have been the recipient of a random act of kindness”
they were instructed to not hold on to the card but make use of it themselves and pass on the kindness. I myself had printed up such cards as well and was having a great time doing just that. As an example if I were in the line at a fast food drive through and I saw someone that appeared to be looking for change to get a meal I would instruct the cashier to allow me to pay for the next patron’s order and ask they give them the card. Some times I’d just do it for the feeling I’d get when the deed was done. I’d get mixed reactions to this request, one person had to ask his manager if he was allowed to accept payment for another’s order. The manager laughed and asked why is his money different that the next person coming up? Another had to inform the whole store what was going on and the manager wanted to refund my meal I already paid for.
That was awkward in the sense I was trying to do something nice and having someone wanting to be nice back. Looking back I should have accepted as you did, but I graciously declined the refund stating it was very kind but was not necessary and to direct it to another unsuspecting patron.
Thank you for reminding me that a simple act of kindness can go a long way. Good things have a tendency to be pushed aside in this world today.
I will be looking for the file I created for the card and begin again.
When I find the information I’ll send you the link to the website if it still is in existence.
Your solution team,
Eric Hendrix & Sue Hendrix
I completely agree with your caffeine issue today. It’s hard to not be completely caught up in your own problems, but when you do take your eyes off of your own problems and look around you there are so many opportunities to help people. The great thing is when we do things for others it makes our own problems shrink in stature. Here is my latest RAK that happened the other day:
I was driving home from work and it started raining hard. I passed a woman walking with no umbrella and carrying a few bags. She was getting drenched. So, I whipped the car around and asked her if I could drive her to where she was going. She said “I don’t want to get your car wet.” I politely told her that my seats would dry and that it was not a problem. She got in the car and I took her down to the bus stop she was walking to. Her daughter had to use her car that day and she had just gotten off of work. I got her to the bus stop and gave her my umbrella. She thanked me for picking her up and couldn’t believe I would just give her my umbrella.
Jeffrey – great article! One of your very best. Inspired me, so that means even your article is a random act of kindness. On to one of my favorite experiences… Ron Campbell
After considerable prodding and encouragement (read much deserved nagging) I finally kept one of several dentist appointments. Because many friends had decided to share horror stories with me I knew what was in store for me with having two wisdom teeth extracted. I was not disappointed and left with my own horror story and two prescriptions to get filled. The dentist office was kind enough to call ahead and I was informed pain killers would be ready for pickup in thirty minutes – about the time the Novocain would be wearing off.
I made a quick stop at the office to pick up a little work that I could do at home while recovering, I also picked up a little sympathy from a very nurturing staff and left the wounded warrior. I arrived at the pharmacy at precisely the arranged time expecting to get my drugs and go home to suffer in silence. They weren’t ready. It would be another fifteen minutes as they were “running a little behind”. They didn’t know that thirty minutes ago when they made the promise/commitment? And so I wait, beginning to hurt and getting increasingly irritated by their incompetence (read Pissed).
Eventually my name is called and as I approach the counter I can see the pharmacist setting out a handful of different drugs, six or seven of them. He then begins to explain to this “blue head” little old lady what each of these drugs do, what time to take them, “if you miss one skip that one and get back in rotation”, “take this one with food”, “if you have this side affect do …” All I am thinking is can you just give me one of those pain pills while I wait for pharmacology 101 to get over?
And finally it appears to be over, The pharmacist is ringing her up, which strikes me as a bad use of his time – he should be getting prescriptions filled on time and not running a cash register. Her total: $83:00. She says “that can’t be, doesn’t my insurance cover some of this?” He responds “without your insurance it would be $324.” She ask “Did you give me generics, those other ones are so expensive?” “Yes, when I could but this one, holding up a bottle, doesn’t come in generic and it is $52.00.” “What if I don’t take that one, I can’t afford it?” The pharmacist starts explain why it is important…”I’ll pay for it,” I said. The lady looks at me. Ma’am, I am having a terrible day and been a grump since early this morning, I need to do something to make me feel better and right now you are best hope. Please don’t say anything, just take your medicine and get healthy.” The pharmacist smiles and takes my money. She almost did what I asked. She whispered “thank you” took the bag and started walking away. I said my name to the pharmacist, he grabbed by little bottle of pain killers, started his spiel while I was handing over the money. There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the old lady, “that was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in long, long time. God bless you.”
I grabbed my pills and change and walked out of the pharmacy, smiling and not feeling much pain at all. In fact, feeling pretty damn good.
This is a story about an act of kindness my husband and I received a few months ago which started my fondness for meals at Chipotle. We were running errands in a town about a half hour from home when we decided to eat lunch at the nearby Chipotle. Now, we’ve eaten at Chipotle before–different ones in different locations–but never this one. So, as we began to place our order when the manager asked us if we’d been “here” before, we told her we hadn’t. Imagine our delight when at the register, we heard her tell the cashier our lunch was on her! Our entire lunch. My husband gladly put $2.00 in the tip jar and we continued to smile throughout our entire, delicious lunch. I am sure that the next time we need to be in that location for errand-running, we’ll make time for a meal at that Chipotle. And we won’t mind paying for it. In fact, we’re glad to do business with the entire company because of that one manager’s surprising act of kindness. And the fact that we’ve never been disappointed with our food or service.
Highland Hills, Ohio
Great story, it brightened my day, and I’m sure the days of other readers. I really do believe the reciprocity affect (letting drivers merge in, holding the door for people, giving kind greetings) has a multiplier effect. My own experience shows that if I do a kind thing for someone, they will do something kind for someone else, and it multiplies. In terms of my own experience, there is an older woman in my community who doesn’t have a car and walks everywhere. I saw her one day and she had a soft cast on her leg and was walking with a cane. I pulled over and gave her a ride to her house which turned out to be nearly a mile from where I picked her up. It made me feel good to be able to lift a burden off someone in need.
I read your “Popcorn” article and was a little surprised that it doesn’t happen more often.
I have been performing these acts for a lifetime. Lots of times I am disappointed as the
recipient of my kindness is completely thankless. Ex: I have a 9 month old baby girl and we took her to
her first swim lessons for babies, the last 3 Saturdays. Momma is in the pool with baby and 4 other Moms.
I am outside the pool with the high powered camera firing countless digital pictures. I thought it selfish
that I would take only pics of our baby and took lots of pictures of all the others too. After the lesson, I asked
all of them for e-mail address’ and sent them shots of their darlings. The pictures were GREAT!
Only one of them sent back a thank you. . .
Next one, righting a wrong. A personal insight for Jeffrey G. I met you in Scottsdale when you spoke for D.R. Horton /PHX.
at the movie theatre. I was a Sales Manager and officer of the company at the time for D.R. Horton – Continental Series.
You were probably brought in by Gordon Jones and the boys downs in Texas. I loved the talk. I was already reading the
“The Little Red Book of Selling” when it was introduced to the Horton Sales team in Scottsdale. I thought it was razor sharp,
to the point and has excellent benefits to a salesperson. Problem is, D.R. Horton isn’t interested in CUSTOMER CARE.
They are interested in hitting the numbers for Wall Street and nothing more. Their priorities are all wrong. Here is the surprise ending. . .
The Division President and the V.P. of Sales and Marketing came into my office and the office of the other Sales Manager and told us to
write a letter to Tom Davis, regional boss and tell him your talk was entertaining but was NOT useful to our staff. They did not want to know
what I actually thought of the presentation.
Tom received 4 negative letters from our office telling him not to use your services, but I don’t know how it may have affected you.
You can pick it up from here if you want, but the story ended for me when I quit in protest in January. (See letter attached)
Both Division President and V.P. Sales have recently been canned, because they “suck at sales”.
Not sure if this rights a wrong or not. I enjoy your work and have since I found you a couple years ago.
I am now enjoying a great business opportunity at HomeVestors, where I am a franchisee in Phoenix.
I would love to hear that you received this letter, but probably won’t due to volume received.
Best of luck!
a few years ago, I started to routinely pay for the car behind me whenever I
would go to the drive-through at a fast-food restaurant. At my “usual”
place, the gal behind the window knows me by now (I stop by about once a
week), but whenever I go to a different joint, I get these confused looks
when I tell them “I’d like to pay for the car behind me as well”.
It’s usually only a few bucks (the most I ever had to shell out was a little
over $10.00), but I expect it makes somebody’s day. In fact, one time I had
a lady follow me to my nearby work place to thank me overwhelmingly.
It’s a very simple thing that can have a very big impact (just like in your
Have a great day,
“Lives, like money, are spent. What are you buying with yours?”
Roy H. Williams (“The Wizard Of Ads”)
KROC AM , KROC FM , Y105 FM
KWWK FM , KLCX FM, KOLM AM
Look what can happen with all that kindness. Keep sending out the “Sales Caffeine”, I feel like I am so busy I don’t have time to read it, but I do.
Keep up the great work,
Applied Products Inc.
The daughter of one of my colleagues at work is collecting the new state quarters. My husband collects them, too. I mentioned little Julie’s collecting. He asked if she were missing any. I got her list from her father. My husband went through his extras and found a few of the ones she was looking for and gave them to me to give to her dad. He keeps her list in his wallet and has been finding others for her when he can. When he went to the bank this week, he learned a new quarter was released. He got enough for everyone he knew was collecting them and one especially for Julie. Everyone was thrilled.
Walsh & Associates, Inc.
East Greenwich, RI
I am a sales director living and working in NYC. Recently, I was in Central Park with my wife and sister in law. I had my “Xootr” on me-one of those grown-up kick scooters. We were in the mall/promenade area of Central Park where skaters and other “street” performers do their thing. This young boy with his mother and father sat next to us on the bench and I heard the boy remark how much fun it would be to ride one of my scooters. I asked the father if his son would like to ride it. They were surprised, but appreciated it and spent the next half-hour on the scooter, the father helping the boy kick his way around all the other people in the park that day. The smile on the boy’s face was huge. When they sat back down, I asked them where they were from. “Chicago,” they said. “We’re out here for the long weekend. Where are you from?”
I said, “New York. We just live a few blocks from here.”
They couldn’t believe it. They said, “Wow, it’s nice to know there are people breaking stereotypes. Thanks for making our son’s day!”
“You’re very welcome. It made my day, too!”
Submitted by: Lanny, NYC
In response to the “popcorn” story:
I cross a toll bridge to get to work. It’s a two dollar toll (one dollar for commuters purchasing bulk tokens). I approached the bridge after having a bad day and a thought crossed my mind . when you do something nice for someone else it brightens your attitude.
Instead of going through the automatic lane I headed for a manned toll booth. I gave the attendant two tokens and said the extra was for the next car. She smiled and thanked me and I felt much better. But after a few minutes on the bridge a car pulled along side me in the next lane with the driver smiling and waving and saying “thank you”. That one dollar token totally changed my outlook that day and even as I write this I’m smiling and feeling better about the world.
Random acts of kindness bring about changes in attitude and who can dispute what a smiling face of a stranger can do while going through our daily routine !
Newport, Rhode Island
This act of kindness is an oldie, it happened about 25 years ago. I share it now because it impacts me every moment of every day of my life.
Me and my mom had, at best, an adversarial relationship; at worst we went into ignoring each other completely and that sometimes went on for years. This was a truce time and within the truce once a month I treated my mom to a cut and blow-dry at my hairdresser’s in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
When we got there we had a wait and we sat down in silence. The drive had been a rough one, my mom having anxiety attacks especially when in cars. We had had words, again, and we were both emotionally exhausted.
I felt there was nothing left for me to do to make things better for us.
I had given it my best.
In the waiting room of the salon there was a video game, an oldie, pac man; it cost 25 cents a game. A young boy, maybe 10 years old, was playing and when his game ended he walked over to his mom and asked for a quarter. “I don’t have any more change” she replied. As this was happening, I walked over to the game and gently dropped a quarter into the slot and walked back to my seat. The boy returned to the game dejectedly, and started pressing buttons when the game came to life.
“Hey mom! I’ve got another game!” he yelled excitedly.
I smiled inside, not wanting to break the serious silence between my mother and myself and there we sat, side by side, with nothing to say to each other. “Kaye, Kaye?” It was Tommy, our hairdresser, calling for my mom. We both stood up and as she walked away she turned and looking directly into my eyes she said “That is what I love about you, the way you take so little and touch people so much. Don’t ever stop doing that.”
My relationship with my mother, although never easy, changed in that moment. Suddenly I saw all the 25 cent moments in her life, a life of hardship, abuse, neglect, illnesses and trouble, yet she was at her best when she could take a little and touch people so much. The kindness in this story isn’t really about the anonymous quarter for the boy’s game, it’s about my mother’s kindness to break the silence between us, witness and then speak her acknowledgement of me as a kind person. And that is something I have done every day since and continue to do in her memory.
I highly recommend it. Finding kindness in others transforms your life.
I had to smile when I read the story about the “popcorn”! So wanted to share this one.
After grocery shopping at the local HEB store here in Fredericksburg, Texas, I was putting my groceries in the trunk of my car. I noticed an elderly lady pushing her full cart around, looking for her vehicle. We’ve all been there, right?? When I finished and took my cart to the cart corral, I saw her a couple of rows away..still searching. I got in my car and was leaving the parking lot, when I noticed her still walking around. I made a circle back in to the lot, drove over to where she was, put my window down and asked her if I could help her find her car. A look of relief came across her face! I parked and walked back over to her, got the description of her car and finally found it. She was almost there, but she had nearly covered the