We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Most people I know agree with the sentiment, but we don’t always follow through with action. We’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that we lose sight of the importance of sharing our time, talent, and treasure with others.
This year my employer, Jefferson Bank, decided to forego its traditional holiday party and instead share $70,000 with people in the communities we serve. With the holiday season approaching, employees were split into teams and given the money to distribute randomly. Over the course of Dec. 12-14, Jefferson Bank employees hit the streets of San Antonio, Boerne, and New Braunfels and surprised folks with cash to spend as they saw fit.
After three days of approaching strangers with gifts of cash, it was the topic of conversation at an employee gathering. We shared powerful, moving stories.
An employee told of one woman who burst into tears when she was given a $100 bill. She said she had been praying for help to buy toys for the children of needy families in her church. Other employees went to a car repair shop and helped a grandfather pay for repairs on his granddaughter’s car – their only source of transportation.
Other bank employees stopped at gas stations and paid for patrons to fill up their cars. They handed out money to people waiting for buses, including a family who said they could now afford to do some Christmas shopping, something that they didn’t think would have been possible otherwise. Bank employees paid for vet bills at a local veterinary clinic, overdue accounts at a daycare center, and layaway bills at a Walmart.
“This morning, four co-workers and I went out into the community committing random acts of kindness courtesy of Jefferson Bank,” bank employee Veronica Lopez wrote in a Facebook post. “… My team spread kindness to about 30 persons today!”
The cash giveaway highlighted 12 months of community service marking Jefferson Bank’s 70th anniversary. Each month the bank partnered with a different organization or nonprofit in the communities it serves to donate money, goods, or service hours. Being able to take time out of the busy work day to help others was amazing.
But for me, the experience of distributing the money with my fellow employees is something I’ll never forget.
Giving away money reinforced that it truly does feel great to give without the expectation of getting something in return. It also brought home an important fact: The smallest act of kindness, from giving someone money to something as simple as offering a smile to a stranger, goes a long way.
This brings me back to my original point. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all that is going on around us. Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the pure joy that goes along with giving.
Giving away $70,000 felt good. Really good. Making people happy felt special.
I know we impacted many lives. Mine was definitely one of them.