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Thanksgiving, Coca Cola and RAK Friday

November 25, 2015

By Michael G. McClory

November 2015 has not offered a smooth run-up to Thanksgiving Day.  The world feels angry, frustrated, confusing and dangerous.  Whether we focus on the logic-deprived barbarism in Paris or countless instances of violence in this country, there is a pall in the air.

Nevertheless, many will gather tomorrow with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, just as we have done for years.  Many of us will be fortunate enough to share a meal, laugh, gossip, pray, watch football, plan for Black Friday, and otherwise enjoy a moment of peace.  That is all good.  While it does not change the world that has been on display this month, at least in some way it prevents the world from changing us.

What can we do, though, to actually change the world?  Can one person in his cubicle office in Portland effect change?  Let’s hope.

We will start by thinking about a long sandy beach.  In summer it is home to sunbathers, surfers and sandcastle makers.  In winter it is a place for peaceful walks and deep thoughts.  All of that happens atop a collection of sand, no one grain sufficient on its own to support these activities. 

The folks at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation have the right idea.  It is “the heart of the kindness movement whose aim is to help everyone create a better world by spreading awareness and increasing engagement in kind actions.”  This year the Foundation’s goal is to convert the Friday after Thanksgiving into RAK Friday

“Make people happy through spreading random acts of kindness (RAK).  That's it.  No other agenda.  We can't think of a better way to kick-off the holiday season.”

The Bullard Edge is fully behind RAK Friday.  Doing something, no matter how small, to brighten the day of another can be quite powerful.  Consider the following very recent examples.
  • In Bolingbrook, Illinois two firefighters were purchasing groceries for their station when they were summoned to duty.  They left their groceries at the check stand.  Twice they tried to return to the store, only to be summoned again.  When they finally got to the store they were surprised that another customer had paid for their groceries.  The anonymous note read: “It was my pleasure to pick up your grocery tab today.  Thanks to you and everyone at your house for all you do.  Enjoy.”  The act has inspired the firefighters to carry forward that generosity and kindness.
  • In Hopkinsville, Kentucky two police officers were having lunch at a Chick-fil-A.  Another patron thanked them for their service to the community and left the store.  Moments later the restaurant brought ice cream cones to the officers, a gift of the patron who had just left the store.  One of the officers posted the story online.
  • In Eugene, Oregon a family, after having driven 2000 miles from Wisconsin to drop off a University of Oregon freshman, suddenly found itself unable to complete the final few miles.  They discovered their car in the hotel parking lot had a flat and it was unclear whether AAA would get to them in time.  Out of the blue, the hotel’s maintenance manager gave them the keys to his truck so they could complete the journey.  They did.  And on their return to the hotel they found the manager had fixed their flat.

These are just a few of examples.  Many of you probably have read similar stories.  RAK Friday is all about seizing our opportunities to be nice one act at a time. When we do this we begin to improve our global discourse (just like the chorus in the old Coca Cola commercial begins to sing in perfect harmony one voice at a time).

The Bullard Edge wishes you a happy Thanksgiving and hopes to see you out on RAK Friday.