When I was in high school, I was in a student group called Setons. We used to meet on Sundays, and we would practice random acts of kindness. These random acts of kindness would be small things, like writing a note on someone’s locker or scribbling “thank you” on a teacher’s chalk board. It could be to strangers, it could be to friends — it just had to be something that lifted people up when they least expected it.
Last night, my roommate and I went to McDonalds (sidenote: I truly love that there is no age limit on Happy Meals). We approached that lovely, pixelated red LED screen as the woman behind the voicebox asked for our order. After ordering enough food to feed a small army, my roommate asked for extra sauce. We knew we were pushing our limits…These days, nothing comes for free. In fact, we were expecting her to charge us an extra fee.
But do you know what she did?
She gave us two of every single sauce available. We’re talking honey mustard, sweet and sour, spicy chipotle BBQ… It was MIND-BLOWING! Here this woman went out of her way to give us a little something extra, at no extra cost. She probably did not even realize how excited we would be about this situation but we were ecstatic! My roommate, in her passionate gratitude, exclaimed “wow, she could have lost her job over that, yet here she goes, giving us all of the sauce our heart desires!”
Probably not…But hey, it makes the story better if she fights for the common college student, who is hungry for a little extra sauce but doesn’t have that extra 25 cents to spare — like some sort of Robin Hood of the fast food world.
We exited that drive thru, smiles on our faces, singin’ “I’M LOVIN’ IT!” the entire way home.
So, maybe we are easily pleased…But the moral of the story is that a little bit goes a long way. Both of us left that Mcdonalds feeling like the world was our oyster because of that woman’s simple gesture of giving us extra sauce for free.
We talk a lot about the importance of gratitude in my creative strategist class. One of the best lessons that I learned was from Scott Bedbury’s lecture early on in the term. He said that as advertisers, it is our job to unleash human potential. We need to always recognize the “little people” and pay it forward. It feels somewhat strange to quote Maya Angelou in the same blog post as Mcdonalds, but her words ring true:
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.
You never know how your actions will affect others. But it is always so crucial to do things that lift people up, and empower them to do the right thing. It always feels good when you receive some unexpected benevolence. Maybe I’ll start doing those random acts of kindness again…