It seems the people at General Motors are a happy bunch these days. I suppose they should be. 2015 was good to them. The company is on its way to setting a record in net sales for this fiscal year. A big jump in the number of Silverados driving off dealer lots helped make that happen.
But it was an unusual press release from the company that showed up in my inbox today that makes me think they’re feeling like life is particularly good in their particular corner of Detroit. It wasn’t announcing a new paint scheme option for the Silverado or anything like that. Instead it was an announcement that they are organizing a special day when they plan to show a little extra kindness toward their fellow man. Kind of spreading the love, so to speak.
I didn’t realize until GM pointed it out for me that this is a leap year. We get a February 29th. That, GM says, is a whole extra day available for us to spend doing something nice. And why not, they suggest, spend it doing something nice for someone else.
Actually, to me one extra day in February just means one extra day of winter. Not something that tends to put me in a particularly benevolent mood. Not so, apparently, at GM. And maybe all the more reason to grab onto GM’s idea.
“Time is such a precious commodity and having an extra day this year presents an amazing opportunity for all of us to do something impactful,” said Paul Edwards, Chevrolet vice president of Marketing, in that press release. “The Chevy team is going to take those extra hours and put them towards doing unexpected acts of kindness for people – something that we hope others will embrace and repeat.”
The press release went on to suggest a variety of ways we ordinary folk could do something pretty decent for a stranger.
“Whether you buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line, help carry someone’s groceries to their car or buy a stranger the vacation of their dreams, there is no act too big or too small that a person can do,” it read.
“Chevrolet will not be alone in the movement to surprise and delight with moments of happiness. Keep your eyes peeled as some of your favorite entertainers, websites and companies join Chevrolet in the fun of treating each other to something meaningful, contributing with their own ideas on how to #DayItForward.”
“So, the question challenging all of us now is, how are you going to #DayItForward?”
Oddly enough, a couple of months ago I was standing in line at Tim Hortons on Route 90 in Winnipeg, and a fellow behind me, whom I’ve never seen before, did exactly what GM’s press release suggested, he paid for my coffee. It caught me completely off guard.
“Why?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he said. “I Just feel like doing it. Enjoy it.”
It was a pretty nice thing to do. And it’s funny how a small thing like that changed the entire dynamic in the place. Other people who noticed were smiling a little bit more, and things became just a bit friendlier with everyone around us.
Not a bad result for a $1.50 investment.