Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Have you “Passed a smile” yet today?

Ok, here’s a post with absolutely nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with “Community” and each of us. Every day now, whether you look at the paper, the news, or any other place, you can find some kind of news or headline portraying something that could easily get people down. The reality is that today, just like every day, there are people who could really use something to pick them up or bring a small amount of happiness to their day. This is not a new concept or something that people don’t already know, and often, these acts don’t need to be huge proclamations or actions, just little gestures that make a difference.

For example, one morning this past spring, I found myself in line to grab a coffee at the Starbucks across the street from our offices and overheard part of a conversation between the barista behind the counter and an elderly woman who just ordered. Apparently, she did not have the money to cover the muffin and tall drip coffee she ordered and was now deciding which she was going to get and not get. Since I had been in that Starbucks many times to grab a morning coffee, I knew the baristas behind the counter. So when they looked up and saw me in line during the conversation, I waved down the line that I’d get the difference in the woman’s order when I got up there. A short conversation took place between the barista and the woman. Then as she turned to walk away with her coffee and muffin, she looked down the line and gave a genuine smile with a look of relief. Turns out, it was 73¢ we were talking about. Nothing major and not a big deal at all. But seeing the smile it brought to the elderly woman’s face, that was invaluable.

It was at that point when I got back to my office that I kicked off the “Pass A Smile” idea and shortly after, launched the “Pass A Smile” site (some of you may have seen it back in the spring last year when I put it up). A simple concept really, and one that anyone can participate in. Many people already do without even thinking of it, and it is by no means a new or unique concept. The notion is, at least one time during your day, make a conscious effort to do a random act of kindness for someone else and simply, “Pass a smile” on. Hopefully, at some point, that person would find themselves doing the same. For those of you located here in the Bellevue, Washington area, you may have found yourself being handed one of the cards below when you placed an order at a particular local Starbucks:

PassSmileCard This is a sample of one I put together when I was the Sr. Manager of Community Engagement on our U.S. Small Business Team. Every once in awhile, I would pre-pay with the baristas in the morning a set amount and tell them to let people place their orders as usual. When they go to pay, simply tell them it has been taken care of, hand them a card, and tell them to have a wonderful day, with a smile. They would continue doing so until the set amount that was pre-paid ran out. There was no rhyme or reason to what days it would happen, how much was pre-paid, or what times of the day. Again, random people, random acts. The idea behind the “Pass A Smile” cards and the site is to get people to think about it, just for a moment, and try to plant the idea of passing along that act to someone else.

No, I am not expecting others to do that particular activity or something like that. My question to you is much simpler. As you think about your days and the things you do, how many opportunities do you think you might have to do just one random act of kindness for someone else out there? Not for any other reason than just to make them smile. Now looking forward, how many of those opportunities are you going to seize and act upon? Take a moment, think about what an impact it could have if everyone were to do just one random act of kindness per day. I would love to hear any stories you would like to share about random acts of kindness you’ve seen or participated in and you can now do so on the “Pass A Smile” page, if you are interested.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman – Follow me on image image
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights