Syverson Strege Commentary
March 28, 2020
Would you like an inside glimpse of the heart and soul of Syverson Strege and its employees? Read on.
Every Monday morning at 8:15, Syverson Strege employees gather for a short team meeting to start off the week. On Monday, February 10, the usual high fives, successes, and weekly schedule were discussed, but something unconventional happened. Lance Gunkel, Managing Director and leader of the team meetings, stood up with a fistful of $20 bills. What comes next is remarkable!
Lance proceeded to hand out a $20 bill to each employee. Lance told everyone that Monday, February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day and employees were encouraged to use the $20 to generate a random act of kindness. The wheels were turning in the minds of the employees figuring out what type of random act of kindness they would put into action. The employees loved this opportunity to give back!
With compassion as one of Syverson Strege’s core values, Random Acts of Kindness Day with action is a natural fit.
Here are a few of the stories, in the employees’ own words, that came from the random acts of kindness activity:
I asked my four-year-old grandson to help me think of who we could help with $20. He was a little confused, but he thought that helping feed kids who didn’t have food or couldn’t go to school because they didn’t have enough money for lunch, was a good idea. Then we thought of a family friend who was raising funds to go on a mission trip to an orphan school in Mali. We agreed that this is where we wanted to use the money. Thanks for the great opportunity to start teaching what money is really for!
I had a great experience! I singled out a young woman in the produce section of the grocery store. When I explained that it was Random Acts of Kindness Day and gave her the $20, she had tears of happiness (and so did I). She said she just moved to town and was due with a baby in four weeks. I got the impression the $20 was really going to help her. We ended up hugging!
I used the money to buy food to prepare a meal for a friend who is going through chemotherapy. I also had enough money left over to pay for a woman’s candy bar at Target since she was having a hard time finding $2 in her purse.
I headed out this morning to take my tax paperwork to our CPA. I drove through downtown Des Moines thinking about how I would use my $20. I stopped by Highland Bakery on 6th Avenue and picked up doughnuts for the people at the tax preparer’s office. There was a woman in front of me with three small children and I paid for her order as well. The look on her face was priceless! So fun to do! My total came to $19.99 (no joke)!
My wife is homeschooling a 7th grade boy who is from a low-income family. The mom is a single parent and she has six kids. When I asked my wife what we should do with our $20 Random Act of Kindness money, she mentioned that the young boy had just told her that his TracFone was out of minutes and his mom did not get paid for another two weeks. My wife gave him the $20 and he was elated and very thankful! He only uses his TracFone for family communication, so it’s not like he was using the minutes to play video games. He needed it for safety and we both felt good about bestowing kindness on this boy.
For my random act of kindness, I bought breakfast for a stranger at Perkins in Orlando, Florida and the rest went for a large tip to the server.
As you reflect on some of these examples, what does spreading kindness look like for you? Join us in spreading kindness far beyond just one awareness day on February 17. As Roy T. Bennett said, “Be the reason someone smiles today. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”