Thursday, July 11, 2013
A Bruegger's Kindness Story
I know it's been a few months since I last posted an update to this kindness blog. For those wondering where I've been, the answer is: pretty much everywhere! Just in the past 3 months, I've done work in Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Kansas City, Dallas, Akron, Buffalo, Omaha, Philadelphia, NY City, Seattle, Miami, Washington DC, Chicago, Providence, Atlanta, and Phoenix, to name a few! I've continued to practice acts of kindness, though haven't made it a priority to do so without missing a single day. And obviously, I haven't written much. However, something happened today that I thought was worth sharing, and hopefully it will get me writing again more frequently.
I was in Phoenix for the past several days giving a couple of talks and visiting my sister and my parents. Before leaving for home, I decided to get some of my favorite Bruegger's bagels to bring back to NJ. (We no longer have any Bruegger's anywhere near us and so I try to pick some up anytime I'm traveling to a city in which they still exist). I called them this morning and ordered 2 dozen Honey Grain bagels to be picked up around 9:00, on my way to the airport.
Though I hadn't yet been to that particular shop, the directions were easy and the exit was literally right on my way. Somehow though, I must have been daydreaming and completely missed the exit. Before I knew it, I was arriving at the car rental return for the airport, and I didn't have time to go back and find the Bruegger's and still make my flight. While disappointed about the bagels, my bigger quandary was feeling bad about having placed an order and then "stiffing" the store. After a few minutes of thought, I decided that I should call the store and give them my credit card and tell them to charge me for the bagels anyway. But the story doesn't end there.
When I called, they put me through to the catering manager, a woman named Felicia. Upon hearing the situation, Felicia asked me what time my flight was. Then she suggested that she could drive the bagels to the airport and meet me in front of the terminal from which I was departing! Sure enough, that's what she did. I'm actually writing this post on the flight, and looking forward to having plenty of great bagels to enjoy over the coming weeks!
As I reflect on what took place, I have a few observations. First, I was thinking about integrity. I sometimes think of integrity as doing the "right" thing, even when no one's looking. No one (except for me) would have ever known if I never paid for the bagels I ordered. They didn't even have my last name, and I could perhaps justify it by assuming that the bagels would eventually be sold throughout the day. Still, it didn't feel right. Integrity, I think, is most often a very personal thing.
The other interesting observation was how my kindness (doing the right thing) was so readily reciprocated. I certainly had no expectation at all that the bagels would be delivered to me at the airport. In fact, it hadn't even occurred to me as an option. But as I observed throughout the past year, kindness is contagious. It's pretty cool to see.
I'll try to be more regular in my writing in the coming months, despite my continued crazy travel schedule.