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I want popcorn and I want it now

I had six things to do this past Saturday. One of them was to stop by the hardware store and get some picture hooks. I went to Blackhawk Hardware rather than Home Depot, because Blackhawk Hardware, the Ace Hardware store in the Park Road Shopping Center, is right by Corners (my framer) and the Suarez Bakery (best donuts on the planet).

Blackhawk Hardware also gives away popcorn. They pop popcorn in the hardware store and give it to all their patrons. Their popcorn is so popular and prolific that several of the stores next to them have signs on the door that say, "No popcorn." Pretty interesting. You'd think a retail store would say, "Welcome" on the door, but instead they say, "No popcorn."

Anyway, I'm at the Ace Hardware store, and it's all about the popcorn. (You know how you go to a place and you can already taste the food before you get there?) I'm thinking "popcorn" as I park the car. Not "hardware store," "popcorn." You know what I mean.

I go in the store, head for the popcorn machine, and there's a guy in front of me scooping it into the little bags they give away. I look down in the popcorn maker, and there's only enough left for one bag. It was almost all gone. Then, I looked inside the popcorn popper hopper, and there's none in there. I'm thinking, "Oh rats, this guy's taking all the popcorn, and there's none left, and none cooking."

Then I thought (positive thinker that I am), there might be enough for two bags. But the guy in front of me keeps scooping, and he's taking it all. Come on pal, leave me five kernels. Finally, he finishes scooping, turns around, and hands me the bag and says, "Here, this is for you."


My mindset was completely against the guy when I first arrived. "This guy's a pig, he's taking it all, what the heck is this ..." Then, all of a sudden, 30-seconds later, he hands the popcorn to me. "Whoa ... thanks!" What a nice guy. Now, he's all of a sudden the nicest guy in the world because of manners and a random act of kindness. And, this guy was just like me, a beautiful, bald guy. His mom probably taught him how to share when he was growing up.

I didn't know how to thank the guy, so I kept walking around the store. I didn't need anything anymore. I already got what I wanted. I was hoping I would bump into "Mr. Kindness" again, so I could thank him again. I thanked him three times. Then I saw him in the parking lot and I said, "Hey, popcorn guy, thanks!"

All day long I was holding doors, smiling at people, saying hello to everyone -- being kind to every person I came in contact with. I told everyone at home the "popcorn story" and I decided to tell you. To challenge you.

When is the last time you performed a random act of kindness? What kind of random acts of kindness are you performing on an everyday basis? And what kind of impact are you (could you be) making on other people -- your customers, your co-workers, your friends, your family?

You don't have to save the world, just give them some popcorn, or whatever your "popcorn" might be. I promise you, you can change minds, you can changes attitudes, and you can create an attitude of friendliness that will be passed on to others. How powerful is that?

Random acts of kindness are almost always passed on. Pass it on. Pass it on.

I'd love to know what random acts of kindness you're performing. Send an e-mail to kindness@gitomer and all stories will be posted on my site.

Gitomer, author of "The Sales Bible" and "The Little Red Book of Selling," is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, and offers licensed training programs to corporations. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or jeffrey.gitomer@sddt.com. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.

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