This time of year is a time for traveling, shopping, cooking, reflecting and putting forth your best efforts to finish out the year strong. With the holiday season’s hustle and bustle, it’s easy to get distracted from the most important aspects of the season: caring and giving.
We’ve seen many great pay-it-forward gestures over the years, including the days-long chain of Starbucks customers who paid for the car behind them in the drive-thru line. More recently, brands have gone above and beyond for their customers in awesomely surprising ways that have turned into viral videos. Although some listed below don’t revolve around the holidays, here are my favorite giving-back initiatives brands have done that will be sure to make you smile.
Lowell Police Christmas Stop. Happening just last week, this truly shows how fast a video can go viral. The Lowell Police Department in Michigan posted a video of officers pulling over citizens for minor traffic violations. Instead of presenting them with a ticket, they struck up conversations, asking the traffic violators what they or their kids wanted for Christmas. Within minutes, those exact items were delivered right to the scene of the crime. The video was posted last Tuesday and, within two days, received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube and made national headlines.
TD Thanks You. Four TD Bank locations in Canada randomly surprised loyal customers in July by turning their ATMs into “Automated Thanking Machines.” Customers were told they would be coming in for a focus group to test a new ATM machine. Instead, custom gifts, including a visit from a Toronto Blue Jays player, were dispensed to each person.
Happiest Travel Day. The day before Thanksgiving is always one of the busiest travel days as people are flying far and wide to get to their loved ones. This year, JetBlue and Zappos teamed up to create a prize game at one baggage claim area for unsuspecting flyers. Where each bag landed on the carousel determined what prize the traveler would receive.
WestJet Christmas Miracle. Possibly the most popular of them all, WestJet made headlines last year with its real-time giving video that has racked up more than 37 million views on YouTube. Passengers on two WestJet flights were surprised at their destination with wish list items. Before boarding, each passenger scanned their boarding pass to interact with a live Santa Claus billboard which asked them what they wanted for Christmas. While in the air, volunteers were hard at work buying and wrapping those items. But, that wasn’t enough for WestJet. They’re at it again this year, surprising a community in the Dominican Republic.
Whether you’re giving a gift, a smile or your time this holiday season, remember that sometimes it’s the small things that matter most to others. Happy Holidays!
What other pay-it-forward gestures or videos have you seen?