Wednesday, September 12

9/11 - Pay It Backward



I had honestly not really thought about it ahead of time, at least not until it was 7:00am and I was taking the train into New York.  I wasn't even supposed to be in the city, but as schedules change I was heading in.  That's when it hit me.  The endless streams of tributes and "I remembers" on Facebook and Twitter.

9/11 - the 11th Anniversary.

I believe that 9/11 should become a National Day of Rememberence.  It's a day that most of us want to be at home with our family and friends.  It deserves the recognition.

So feeling sad and a little blue along my commute, I stepped into my usual Starbucks to have what turned out to be an experience that will now become a new memory added to the collection of thoughts about 9/11.

I was standing at the register having already ordered my drink, getting ready to pay.  The guy in front turns to my barista (and to me) and says, "It's September 11th, so I am going to pay for his coffee."

My immediate reaction ... "What!?"  And then it hit me ... kindness.  It's become a National Day of Kindness, and this guy was paying it backward (to the guy behind him in line).  A bit shocked, I could think of nothing to do but to give him a hug as he went off on his way.  Kindness.

Of course as soon as I got to the office, all memories faded to the buzz of emails, conference calls, and meetings.  Until I got to lunch.

Thinking nothing of it, I decided to get outside for 5 minutes and get a quick slice of pizza for lunch.  I'm about to pay for my food, and it hit me.  So I turned to the guy at the register (and to the very lovely woman behind me) and said, "It's September 11th, so I am going to pay for her pizza."

Kindness.  9/11 - Pay It Backward (to the person behind you in line).

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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