This morning on the way to my office I indulged in one of my biggest fast food weaknesses – an egg burrito from Del Taco. It’s been my favorite morning meal since the early 1980s when I a name badge adorning the same company logo was clipped to my red jersey. This morning, however I was met with more than a tasty wrap of eggs, cheese and salsa. As I pulled up to the drive-thru speaker box and rolled down my window I noticed a small awning just above my head. Now you see, it rarely rains here in Southern California but today just happened to be one of those days.

As I pulled around to the window I thought carefully about what that umbrella really meant. I’m sure it cost the store at least $2000 in manufacturing and installation, an expense they really didn’t have to endure. This location has been operating for dozens of years without one and it could  be considered a frivolous expenditure with no return. But to me, this was a physical manifestation of exceptional customer service. This little local franchise showed they cared enough about creating a positive experience for their customers that the cost of convenience was worth every penny.

On a related note, a colleague of mine recently posted a recommendation for me on LinkedIn. Now, I’m not fishing for a new career or asking for a recommendation to amp up my online presence. On the contrary. I’m very happy running my own business. But this good friend believed in recommending “fabulous people in my circles” and that “well-deserved praise is always a good thing.” Her words set on me a grin from earlobe to earlobe.

Later in the day, my own kindness reciprocation came in the form of remaining extra gentle on a group of design students whose work was shy of my expectation level. My gift was an exercise in seeing their work through the eyes of another and encouraging them to examine work through their own sharper lenses.

How do you pay forward in selfless acts of kindness? I would love to hear how you spread goodwill to fellow mankind.