Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.
After we recently wrote about random acts of kindness, one of our community members visited his local coffee shop and thought he’d give it a try. John told the barista that he was paying for the woman behind him. “Why?” questioned the barista. “Just to be kind,” John said.
When the barista told the woman that her beverage was free and why, she said that she wanted to do the same thing. And it set off a chain reaction for those who followed in the line.
Research has shown that acts of kindness not only brighten the day of the recipient but also have a positive effect on the mental well-being of everyone involved. That was confirmed by John: “I felt just great about doing it,” he told us. “And the look of surprise on the face of the woman behind me made it all worthwhile.”
The power of random acts of kindness
As John discovered, random acts of kindness need not be grand gestures to have a big impact. The simple act of buying a coffee, surprising someone with cookies, or sending an unexpected e-card, text, or email can often lead to far greater outcomes than the act itself.
The Journal of Experimental Psychology recently published a study that proves this point. Study participants were given a cup of hot chocolate to keep or give away. Those who gave it away were asked to guess how the gesture would feel to the recipient and the recipients were asked how they felt afterward.
The finding: The givers consistently underestimated how much the gesture was actually appreciated. Researchers concluded that people often overthink small gestures and imagine all the ways they might be misinterpreted by the recipient. At the same time, they underestimate how the recipient will feel.
The study takes us back to a recurring theme of the Pulse. We all have the power to brighten someone’s day. Use your power.
Random acts of kindness in our community
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your own stories about random acts of kindness you either initiated, like our community member John, or something that you witnessed. Here are a few that will hopefully brighten your Sunday…and every day!
Phyllis receives help from a stranger at the movies
I was at the movies, and as I was getting into my seat, there was a step up to it that I did not see. I did a slow roll to the floor. A gentleman came over and picked me up and set me in my seat. I did not know him but thanked him profusely.
As a result of the fall, my popcorn was all over the floor. I had not taken one bite of it and I was craving that popcorn. But because of the fall, I was afraid to get out of my seat to pick the popcorn up for fear of falling again. Then, that same gentleman returned with a big bag of popcorn for me. That was the kindest act. When the movie was over, he offered to help me out of my seat and see me to safety. I didn’t even get his name, but I am praying God will bless him.
Linda teaches kindness through pets
During my whole life, the most important value I try to have, and share is kindness. I truly don’t believe there is anything more important than the quality of kindness; however, for kindness to succeed in society, it must be taught, consistently over time.
Kindness has to be demonstrated for us by our loved ones. As a mom and former teacher, I think animals can provide valuable kindness lessons to children and that’s where it all needs to start. If you have a pet, talk about being nice and caring towards that pet. Teach children how to hold, pet, and be calm with the pet. A pet will return all that love and more. Kindness begets love and we are all capable of learning that.
Roberta’s lifetime memory of an act of kindness
Some time ago, I was pregnant and due any day. After work, I stopped into the pharmacy near my home to pick up some supplies that a nursing mom would need. Because of the hour, it was very busy with others who had just left work. I considered going home, but I was just tired – and so big – and the thought about having to do this again, before I delivered, made me stick it out. Several customers were in front of me, and each seemed to have an issue that created a protracted transaction.
The clerks behind the counter were both men. At one point the younger clerk finished with a customer and announced that he’d been watching the “very pregnant lady standing patiently and looking very fatigued.” He apologized to others but said he was going to wait on me next.
To my surprise, no one objected, and I was so very grateful. I thanked him for being so observant and considerate. When I got back to my car I cried. That was almost 43 years ago and no one there that day likely remembers the incident – but I still do.
As I write this, it still brings tears to my eyes. I told my husband and lots of my friends about what happened, but I am delighted to continue to share how much seemingly little things can mean, even over a lifetime.
We often see acts of kindness in our offices. During a recent walk through our customer service area, Chris noticed that Kate, one of the agents, had on her desk a jar of “positive thoughts” notes from one of our gifts. Next to it was a sign that invited anyone passing by to take one. It was so thoughtful of her to share her gift and spread kindness throughout the office.
It feels good when you give your time, your effort, your money, or your anything to help other people. It is part of what makes us human. And it’s why we say, Giving is the Gift.
An update from our Teen Advisory Panel
Years ago, we launched a program that brings the teens of our employees into the office and puts them to work. This is our way to get a pulse on what the next generation is thinking. We ask them to share their ideas, creativity, and feedback with us. And we have never been disappointed.
The Teen Advisory Panel returned late last year after a hiatus due to the pandemic. Over the course of three days spread over three months, the teens learned how our company turns ideas into products. But we learned a lot too. The teens’ fresh perspectives and ideas helped us think outside the box and question our own procedures. This year, they presented several wonderful ideas that we wanted to share with you.
The first idea they created was called “Caught on Film,” and as part of this initiative, 1-800-Flowers.com would rent cameras, and other video gear, to our customers, who would then be able to capture long-lasting moments and memories. The customers would then be able to create a short film, or montage, of these experiences, and then share that with us, so we could share with all of our customers.
The second idea was a personalized sports box with the name “Jack’s Baskets.” The snacks, clothes, and accessories in these baskets would all be themed after a customer’s favorite sports team. The basket would be another way for a customer to enjoy their preferred sports teams and players.
Thank you to all those teens who participated. We look forward to the next infusion of youth and creativity from our Team Advisory Panel soon.
All the best,
Chris & Jim