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FRANK BROWN: A pitch for kindness could become a big hit



My brother had alerted me that a package was heading my way, but I was a still slightly surprised and even more curious when I pulled the rectangular, hand-addressed cardboard box from my mailbox.

His work is about to uproot him from his Florida home and send him overseas, so I suspected he had found some childhood memory during packing and was shipping it my way.

We were very much opposites growing up. I loved to play baseball in our oversized backyard, while he spent most of his time tinkering with small engines and bicycles in the garage.

We fought, argued and wrestled like brothers will tend to do. But, like true family, we stood up for each other when necessary. He was so familiar with my bicycle during our grade school and junior high years that it was easy for him to find it in a parking lot after it was stolen. He waited for the culprit after school and reclaimed ownership.

“An early Merry Christmas,” said the note as I opened the box. Inside was a velvet covered box, much like one that would hold an expensive necklace.

Instead, it held a coin — a commemorative 2014 silver dollar from the U.S. Mint honoring the Baseball Hall of Fame. The engraving on one side showed the stitchings of a baseball, while the other showed a baseball glove. The surface was curved in an unusual convex-concave manner, with the front side resembling the rounded part of a baseball.

While my old coin collection was long-ago liquidated, I will find a nice place to display this gift.

“You didn’t think I would let you go without one of those did you?” he responded when I thanked him.

Brother or not, what he did was an act of kindness — something we all should do more often.

Acts of kindness don’t have to be full-blown projects. They can be simple acts that may even go unnoticed, but can help make someone’s day a bit less stressful.

I noticed in a recent email that the Leland Chamber of Commerce has kindness in mind. It is launching a formal program, asking Leland businesses to focus on kindness.

The program asks business owners to sign a pledge, train employees and display information about the program.

The program is based on the The Kindness Revolution, a national effort to  encourage residents to think about how we treat one another and to recognize when someone goes out of their way to be nice.

“When I heard about The Kindness Revolution, I knew I wanted to find a way to get it going here,” Bill Hite of the Washington County Farm Bureau said in a news release. “The folks in Leland have really embraced the idea and run with it – it’s been fun to watch it grow into something new.”

Several businesses in Leland have already signed on to the program including: Planters Bank, Stop-n-Shop, Mitchell Distributing, Cicero’s Restaurant and Wild Magnolias Beauty Salon.

The program also provides a way for customers to send feedback in the form of anonymous text messages about their experience with a business.

“We’ve worked closely with the leaders of the national Kindness Revolution™ to design this program,” says Melia Christensen, Executive Director of the Leland Chamber of Commerce. “They have provided some great guidance and support, and we are all very excited that Leland gets to be the Guinea pig for something we think might gain traction in communities everywhere.”

It’s worth a try.

You never know when kindness will knock the ball out of the park.


Contact Mississippi Business Journal’s Frank Brown at frank.brown@msbusiness.com


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