Unexpected Niceness

Niceness. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's worth commenting on.

This past week was filled with niceness. Don’t you just love that word? It encompasses so much—pleasantness, warmth and friendliness, kindness, compassion and decency. It’s a word and a way of behaving that the world needs more of—a lot more!

It started when a friend took the time to track down a solution to something I had mentioned in passing. I was trying to figure out how to get a certain font character on my computer. Without being asked he found the answer and emailed the solution to me.

Next I had the good fortune to reconnect with two former business contacts at an open house event. Both candidly complimented my design skills and suggested potential consulting. Their unexpected niceness was a great ego booster.

Everyone wants to be acknowledged for a job well done.

That fact was evident last weekend as I watched genuine niceness unfold at a dance competition. Teammates spontaneously supported and applauded one another before and after their performances with hugs and cheers, smiles and tears. Yes, each of them wanted to win, but mostly they sincerely wanted to do their best. In my eyes they did.

Part of my week was spent looking for a garment bag. After seeing what my granddaughter used for that competition, I decided she needed a new one. Something sturdy and large enough to hold multiple dance costumes without crushing them. A bag she would like, not one that look like it belonged to a businessman. I found several possibilities online but none were exactly what I was looking for. Besides, ordering online would take too long. I needed it quick.

Oh, did I forget to mention the bag was for a last-minute birthday present—very last minute. I had already bought her a present, but this would be better.

That's when I hit on a great idea. I’d buy a simple black bag and personalize it. It would be one-of-a-kind! Clever me! I patted myself on the back until it suddenly dawned on me that my great idea needed a bag. None of the stores I called had any in stock. Finally, someone suggested I try the Capezio store on El Monte. They didn’t have one either, but their San Mateo store did. The owner offered to bring it down to the Mountain View store so I could pick it up the next morning. Because of Lisa’s niceness, I now had a bag!

But would I be able to get it embroidered? Hmm. I called the company that embroiders polos for my bell group. Yes, they could embroider a garment bag, and inexpensively to boot, but it would take a few days.

It’s my experience that most kids want an actual present to open. Showing them a picture or telling them their present will be delivered in a few days doesn’t quite cut it. I wished I’d thought of my idea sooner. I was back to my fallback gift. But I really wanted to give her a new bag. Maybe…

I took the bag to the embroidery shop. You guessed it—when Fabiola discovered it was a birthday present for my granddaughter she offered to personalize it that same day! So when it was time to open birthday presents, there wasn’t a sketch, there was a new bag personalized with a name and a gold star. My granddaughter loved it!

I pulled off my big idea, but only because of the niceness of others. So thank you to everyone who helped make my week a little sweeter. Each of you has made me want to put on my niceness hat and pay it forward. In the meantime, I tip my hat to all of you.

Who ever said being nice didn’t make a difference?

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Claudia Cruz April 03, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I think I've learned that sometimes the most subtle acts of niceness/kindness go a long way. Opening doors for the elderly and women with children is one and not rushing past these groups on stairwells, e.g., acknowledges their presence.
randy albin April 04, 2012 at 05:23 PM
it seems as though there is enormous indifference these days around the bay area. this author writes some readable articles about experiences in current times. it's great to hear about some positive influences that are floating around for people to consider and contemplate
Joni Ratts April 05, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Thanks for the "nice" comments, Randy. Hopefully many more will listen and hear the positive side of life.


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