A few Monday morning coffees ago, the happy startups team brainstormed ways we could bring happiness to the streets of Brighton this Christmas. Since hearing about Random Acts of Kindness, a movement of people doing unexpected kind acts for strangers in a bid to make the world a happier place, the team wanted to be a part of the action, so from Monday 16th – Friday 20th December, we did one act every day with the aims of making people in our city smile by spreading some Christmas cheer. Experts believe that acts of kindness don’t only benefit others, they boost our own well-being too and after this week we realised they couldn’t be more accurate. By the end of the week we felt elated that we made a difference to one or two others.
The random acts of Christmas kindness began on a very bleak Monday morning in Small Batch Coffee shop. Our team gather there almost every Monday to discuss plans for the week ahead and catch up on each others weekends, and we see a lot of sleepy faces queuing up for their caffeine hit en route to their office. Our founder Carlos was paying for our drinks, and decided to pay for the person’s bill behind him too, as a complete surprise. Hopefully we cheered up her Monday :)
Tuesday was jam packed full of festivities. We welcomed budding entrepreneurs into Spook Towers for gingerbread coffee, mince pies and a grand tour of the office over some Christmas tunes. Open mornings are great, we get to meet so many interesting and driven Brightoners all at different stages of their businesses, and over time we’ve learned that one of the greatest gifts people can give another person is their time and expertise. Problems other people face might be so easily solved if they meet somebody with experience in that field that can help steer the answer.
A couple of creatives came along to the open morning, and when we got chatting, they told us about the difficulties they’re facing with social media and making a start with marketing their idea. We instantly knew we might be able to help them, so offered up 2 hours of our time for free to do a one off business/social media mentoring session, in the hope that they can take the next steps with their businesses in the new year.
As the coffee morning finished up, our intern Aliya cherry picked some children’s Christmas presents, wrapped them all up in record time and braced the cold, rainy streets to hand out gifts to children to make their day a bit brighter. On our travels we put Christmas cards and sweets on cars parked by our office, and popped a Merry Christmas package into cyclists baskets, so when they returned they were greeted with a festive surprise :)
Science has long proved that if you’re having a rough day, stroking a cat or a dog can really alleviate depression, so with this, for our next act of kindness we dressed the office dog Alfie in his finest tinsel to give out free hugs to all those stressed Christmas shoppers.
We left some doggy treats in a bag next to him so that passers by could feed him, and he was an absolute hit. One lady we spoke to said meeting Alfie brought back very fond memories of her childhood pet who looked similar- another day of Christmas cheer covered, it was so nice to see so many smiley faces!
For Thursday’s random act of Christmas kindness, we explored ways we could use our skills as a team to make a difference. Aside from our work with The Happy Startup School, we help build happy, thriving businesses as Spook Studio. Building technology is where (most of us!) excel, alongside helping teams learn how to work in more innovative ways. On Thursday we got in touch with a local charity we know to offer a free innovation workshops to help them grow to new heights.
Post office staff are up against a lot of angry customers waiting in long queues to post and collect their Christmas parcels. They’ve been on our list to be kind towards since we first started thinking about random acts of kindness – seeing posters lining the post office walls telling everyone ‘we don’t accept abusive behaviour’ alludes to the amount of impatient customers they’re in front of every day.
We wanted to do something to say thank you for all the hard work they’ve put in this Christmas, for making sure our parcels arrive to our loved ones in time, always serving with a smile. So on Friday we joined the post office queue and gave the cashier chocolates for the team, instead of a parcel to post.
Other random acts…
We aren’t the only ones trying to make a small difference in the happiness of the people around us. There’s a whole swarm of others partaking in #RACKs (or ‘random acts of Christmas kindness) during the run up to Christmas and beyond. Here’s a few others we’ve been really inspired by.
Have you done any random acts of kindness before? However small, we’d love to hear. Little ripples make big waves, just one small act can help change somebody’s outlook on their whole week :)