“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” Robert Brault
My last six months have been a crash course in life, figuratively speaking. I’ve learned what it’s like to start my own business and how I would react to that change after being comfortably employed at one marketing agency for 12 years. I learned the efforts and rewards of being a first time, full time guardian of a teen daughter, and learned more than ever what I can do without. I learned to drive a commercial van, and, that the people who make your day or a more permanent impression on your life can be a surprise.
Alone and for the first time navigating the scary-big van after a promotional event in ski country last week, I evaluated every rattle and sway in the aftermath of icy gusts that ricocheted off the mountains. Driving several hours each way, the commute represented the first time since I learned to drive that I felt I needed to concentrate completely, remembering two hands on the wheel at 10 and 2. I never took a sip of water, turned on the radio, or even thought about using my cell phone or lip gloss while in transit. It was someone else’s property, someone else’s valuable property, and it was far less predictable than my compact Vibe. The sustained concentration was exhausting, and I approached the toll booth with added focus making sure I was in the correct lane, had the dollar within easy grasp and was prepared to manually roll down the window. Window down, dollar flapping in the breeze; I asked for a receipt. The attendant said, “I will give you a receipt but the man in front of you paid your toll.” Instinctively I said “well then please take my dollar and pay for the next car behind me”. Wow! I thought that only happened to cute 20-something girls in convertibles, not wind-blown, middle-aged chicks without lip gloss in a commercially branded van.
“An unexpected pleasure is one of life’s greatest surprises. “ Robin Samora
I cannot explain how much faster the rest of the commute seemed as my mind instantly shifted into overdrive working to deduce why this had happened. Was this someone I had befriended on the mountain? Someone who was just thrilled with our company’s service? Someone who had driven past me and seen my white knuckles wrapped around the steering wheel and figured I needed a break? Someone I know? Or was it just as I really suspect, a random act of kindness? The important thing is that beyond making me smile, this act gave me the energy to complete the ride as if I hadn’t been battered all day by sub zero (with wind chill) temps, snowy glare and heavy lifting. I was as awake as if the day were just beginning and feeling just as much promise. I took it very personally so it wasn’t until I started writing this blog that I began to think what it meant to someone other than me. What a fabulous marketing opportunity. Some stranger behind me had a toll paid by our company – excellent public relations. Had my recipient paid it forward, (or backward in this case) too? Maybe no one in Lane 6 has had to pay their own toll since that day. (A stretch, I know.)
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” Wm Penn
This morning my rabbits inspired me with their random act of kindness. Every day for two years, they’ve awakened me by 6 am, but today let me sleep until 8:30 for reasons known only to them. Had I been asked, I would have said I could never sleep that late. It was such a treat. If rabbits with brains the size of walnuts can figure that out, I challenge all of us to brighten someone’s day, then report back to my blog on the kindnesses that have been bestowed upon you in return. Something about being treated well makes one want to treat the next person even better. Competitive kindness! Need a jump start, check out Operation Nice, http://www.operationnice.com/search/label/NICE%20Testimonial . This website is equivalent to a happy pill without the negative side effects. When the news leads me to believe the wrong people are winning and even bi-winning (i.e. Westboro Baptist Church, Charlie Sheen), I click here to remember they are not the only inhabitants of this earth.
Lovefest – I want to acknowledge Robin Samora Partner Promotions who hired me for the slope-side events http://www.partnerpromotionsinc.com/projects.html and Tony Naser of Naser Diamonds http://www.naserdiamonds.com/ for sharing my enthusiasm for marketing and promotions. Working with Tony for 20 years (gasp) and Robin for 5 months, they represent my longest held and one of my more recent accounts. And they have made my day on many occasions.
“When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.” Harold Kushner
NOTE: Photos taken at Ski Bradford http://www.skibradford.com/