Random Act of Kindness

A Random Act of Kindness …… at Starbucks no less!

It’s 7:15, Tuesday evening. We’ve just finished a Board Meeting of B1G1 GIVING. We decide to have a B I G  latte.

You’ll know that Starbucks refer to their B I G  one as a ‘Vente’. But I mistakenly order a ‘Grande’ — their smallest size.

The person taking the order, Akip, calls it to the Barista and then tells me the price, I pay him, he gives me change and then I realise my mistake. But by this time, my ‘Grande’ is on its way.

Oh, I meant to order a Vente, I got my sizes mixed up,” I say. And I pass across more money to pay for it.

Akip says, “It’s OK. We’ll make a Vente but it’s on us. There’s no need for you to pay more.

I’m stunned. And I’m stunned because I did not expect that response. I got a Random Act of Kindness.

And I realised then that that is SO much more powerful than if Starbucks had been promoting ‘Order a Grande, get a Vente’. It's more powerful because it is SO unexpected; that’s the crucial point.

That’s probably why, as well, we’re seeing some interesting additions in the way people are giving now through B1G1. Whereas earlier on, the only way people did the giving was to link it to sales BEFORE the event (for example, as in ‘When you buy this widget, 100 children get access to water’) we’re now seeing more and more people doing it almost as a random act of kindness AFTER the sale.

There are two great examples of it already in the B1G1 site — here’s one where, believe it or not, an orang-utan and a goat feature strongly, and here’s one where coral reef protection gets beautifully linked to planting forests. In all of these cases (and there are many more), people are also using the downloadable ‘Gratitude Certificate’ and then customising it to their special circumstances.

Significantly too, people who research these things tell us that RAKs are becoming more and more important. Of real note is the March 2011 report from Trendwatching.com and the breakthrough research resulting in the SpendShift book by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio. You can find a great summary of that right here too.

Random Acts of Kindness look like they may be more frequent and less random this year. And isn’t that just awesome news?