A Random Act of ...


This has nothing to do with communications.

Then again, it has everything to do with communications.

The demands on my time these days has made it tough to squeeze in time to write for my blog; hence, the dusting off of this Trade Joe’s post. Let me set the stage. My wife and I decided to have a BBQ. After shopping for burgers, buns, condiments, etc., we made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s for those killer chocolate chip cookies.


Encountering kindness while picking up cookies


I pick up a pail of cookies and walk to the fast checkout line.

This is where the random act of kindness commences.


Caring About Others

The Trader Joe crew member manning the till banters, scans and bags. The line is moving along nicely.

I’m now next in line with an older gentleman ahead of me purchasing a few items. The Crew member scans him up and guides the older gentleman to put his credit card in the credit card reader.

Unfortunately, the gentleman seems to have forgotten how this pay-by-credit-card works.

The Crew member never loses patience. He never gets frustrated. He gently tries different ways of explaining to the gentleman how to put his credit card in the reader.

Nothing works.

The Crew member moves to Plan B —

He comes around from behind the check-out counter, puts his hand on the gentleman’s shoulder and says something to the effect that it’s OK, I can help you with this. The Crew member then pulls out his wallet and inserts his own credit card into the reader to pay for the gentleman’s goods. The hero image above shows the Crew member bagging the goods for the gentleman.

Kindness matters.


One Final Comment

This is how the Trader Joe’s website describes its Crew:

The Crew is Trader Joe’s heart and soul. As a member of the Crew, you do a little of everything — and handle a lot. So does everyone along with you. Working the cash registers, receiving and unloading deliveries, stocking shelves, building displays, cleaning the floor, answering questions about Trader Joe’s products, and just generally making sure that every customer has a fun, friendly and informative shopping experience — that’s a little of everything. That’s a lot.

I’d say that first sentence nails it.




  • Steve Fowler

    Great piece Lou, as always.

    I gain tremendous satisfaction when engaging in random acts of kindness. Most of the time, my actions remain with me, unshared, until the memory of that act fades into the sea of forgetfulness. That is probably how it should always unfold.

    Very often the recipients of my kindness fail to respond with a simple acknowledgment. When I was younger those failures made me mad. No longer.

    At some point, I realized expecting to receive a “Thank you” from the recipients of my kindness, is just me playing Mr. Nice Guy wanting something in return. That’s selfish.

    Those offering sacrificial selfless kindness should expect nothing in return.

    My reward is the gratification I receive knowing my efforts reflect a heart that cares for others; taught to me by the One who saved my soul.

    • Lou Hoffman

      Well said.

      I’m with you brother.

      P.S. Still, it is nice to experience some type of acknowledgement even if it’s a simple nod of the head.

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