Posts

Restoring My Faith In Humanity

Tim Hortons

I’m not sure, in my lifetime, that I have felt as emotionally drained as I do right now. Between family illnesses, lack of sleep and what happened in Connecticut last week, I haven’t been able to find a lot of room for happy thoughts. Just as I began to sink into hibernation, I received an email from the PR department at Tim Hortons.

The last thing I was looking for was to start working on a new project. My plate was already pretty full and I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a hobby and not my real job. Before I opened the email, I had already located my standard, copy and paste, “Thanks but I can’t accept any new projects at this time” response. Luckily, I read the email because what they were proposing was the exact thing I needed at that very moment.

They were offering to send me 50 – $5 gift cards for their Random Cups of Kindness promotion, that I was allowed to hand out to whoever I saw fit. I accepted immediately and waited with anticipation for the cards to arrive. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to distribute the cards and as it turns out, the experience was a lot more uplifting than I could have imagined.

I began my adventure by leaving two cards at the Tim Hortons drive-thru, for the next two cars in line. The person at the window looked at me like I was nuts but by the end of the week; they were expecting me and knew the drill. I never saw any of the recipients of the gift cards but I was encouraged by how happy it made the employees inside the store. I was determined to not let my pneumonia slow down my mission and soldiered on. I surprised parents and teachers at my son’s school. I visited a couple stores that I constantly get excellent customer service from and surprised them with special gifts. I handed them out to people who looked like they hadn’t smiled in a long time and I even gave one to Santa Claus at the mall, because, well, Santa needs love too!

Just watching the smiles on people’s faces as I handed them the cards would have been enough for me to enjoy the experience, but hearing comments like “I really needed this” and “You really have made my day”, pushed the experience over the top. Oddly enough, my favourite part of the campaign came when my daughter fell and cut her mouth, which sent us to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Don’t worry, she is fine and didn’t require any stitches, but it gave me the chance to hand out gift cards to parents of sick kids and also to some of the wonderful staff at CHEO. This was the point where I really started getting emotional about what I had been fortunate enough to be a part of.

It might sound silly and exaggerated, and I’ll never be able to accurately capture my feelings in words but this experience has really changed me. It’s changed the way I interpret what is important in my life versus what is unnecessary extras. Giving is important. Making people smile is important. Helping others is important and family is the most important of them all. Money and feuds and impatience and anger are not important, they are just distractions from what we should really be focusing on.

I realize that Tim Hortons’ “Random Cups of Kindness” was a marketing campaign designed to create a buzz for the brand, but whether they realized it or not, they have touched some people’s lives at a time when it was most important to do so. There was no compensation for this campaign, nor was any expected. I wasn’t required to write, tweet, speak or do anything else but hand out the cards and bring smiles to people’s faces, which I gladly did.

I want to say Thank You to Tim Hortons for including me in this amazing promotion and for restoring my faith in the good things that people are capable of doing for each other. They were only $5 gift cards but I am a different person for having done it. If more big companies did what you have just done, the world would be a better place, even if only a little bit better.

Happy Holidays Everyone! I am wishing nothing but the best for all of you in the New Year!

Chris

Here’s A Double Shot Of Business Awesome!

I’ve always appreciated excellent service and ethical, client centered business practices. That said, it wasn’t until I went to one of the presentations for Scott Stratten’s, “Book of Business Awesome”, that I truly understood the value of sharing some of the everyday, cool things that some businesses do for us, as consumers. I want to share one of those stories today.

While wasting my life away doing blog research on Facebook recently, I noticed a status update from my friends at Mabel’s Labels. It was a letter from one of their customers, that read as follows:

“Dear Mabel, Last week my car got broken into. Sadly our GPS and my son’s hockey bag were taken. I was sad to tell my son about it. It takes a lot of time effort and money to gather all the items for hockey equipment. My husband and my son decided to go to a second hand store called Play it Again Sports to find some new equipment. When my son tried on a neck guard, what does he see: Yes! his name on it with your label. He points this out to the store owner and tells him the story of the loss. They were able to find all his equipment and they returned it without charge. To top it all off, the store owner caught the thief on his video camera, gave us a copy and we were able to give it to the police.”

Pretty awesome, right? I realize that by returning the boy’s equipment, “free of charge”, the owner did the right thing and probably what was expected of him, but this is where I get to add an extra dash of awesome to the story. You see, I help run a charity called, The Gil Read Memorial Foundation, named after my father. Our goal is to provide monetary assistance to children who can’t afford to compete in sports. This includes equipment, registration and other costs associated with playing a sport.

When I approached Play It Again Sports about becoming our official supplier of sports equipment for the charity, not only did they agree immediately but they also offered a generous discount to all the families we sent in. I can’t say enough good things about this company and the people they have working there. On top of all of that, their Regional Manager, Rob Lavoie, was an integral member of our Movember team that helped raise over $12,400 this past month.

Keep up the excellent work, guys! You make our community a better place to live and I appreciate it! I’d also like to thank the awesome people at Mabel’s Labels for sharing this story. It’s nice to read about the positive, inspirational stuff every now and then. Plus, you know, your labels are awesome and clearly help catch criminals!

Cheers!