Uncommon Kindness

News flash: There’s a lack of kindness in the world today. 

Kindness is more than practicing good manners and common courtesy—which are also hard to come by. Kindness goes deeper into caring what actually happens to other people. It’s having real concern for those with whom we share our days and our planet.

In recent years there’s been a movement toward random acts of kindness—and there are numerous websites (such as randomactsofkindness.org) with ideas for ways to show kindness to friends, family and total strangers.

Hank Frisch, CAS, owner of distributor Team Promotions, is someone who doesn’t need to be prompted on how to be kind to others. Earlier this year, he and his partner Marcella Minorini saw a need for kindness and responded. They live in a condo community that has many older residents—some in their 90s. The neighbors were upset about a recent conflict with the condo association board. Just before Valentine’s Day, he and Marcella purchased carabiner key tags engraved with the condo building name. They put them in small gift bags with a few chocolates, a heart-shaped note pad and a note wishing each person a Happy Valentine’s Day, then hung the bags on each neighbor’s doorknob. Hank says the response was amazing. People called and sent notes—one woman gave them a big hug. The gift was a small gesture, but it showed kindness when his neighbors needed it most.

Danny Rosin, CAS, and Robert Fiveash, principals at distributor Brand Fuel, Inc., are also strong believers in the power of kindness. Their company’s culture centers on giving back, and the pair have long been involved in a number of philanthropic projects. Their latest brainchild is aptly named the Kindness Container.

Every year their team strives to create new experiences around the company brand, so, to mark its 20th anniversary, the team came up with the idea of a using a branded cash-blowing machine at its booth at the American Marketing Association’s High Five Conference in February. As $30 to $50 worth of cash blew around in the machine, lucky conference attendees had 20 seconds to grab as much as they could. Watching the action became a fun centerpiece of the event, but the most memorable experience is what happened after collecting the cash. 

Brand Fuel staff exchanged their crumpled bills for crisp ones affixed with a Post-it® asking participants to use the money to sprinkle kindness in the community—whatever they determined that to be. The team later heard from many who said they gave their cash to homeless people, bought coffee for strangers or donated to a cause, and they relayed how powerful that was for them. Connecting experiences like these to the company’s brand was a win for Brand Fuel. 

Each person who stepped into the Kindness Container also got a button saying I’m A Kindness Sprinkler, and took home a Mason jar-style cup filled with 20 slips of paper, each containing an uplifting quote as a reminder to spread kindness to others. The cup was also a long-lasting physical reminder of the experience.

What started as a way to say thank-you to customers broadened into a more substantial reward for the company’s brand because of alignment with its core values: caring, kindness and reinforcement that we are human beings with hearts. 

Danny says he plans to use the Kindness Container again at an upcoming client event and hopes the idea helps inspire others to pay it forward in a world that sorely needs more kindness.

Talking with him got me thinking about what could happen if even a few companies gave their employees some cash in an envelope and asked them to use it to spread kindness—and also to come back and share their stories about what they did with the money. Just thinking about that makes me smile.

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Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

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