The Good Will Stalker

Combustible generosity

It's a single act of kindness that can change the course of events. It's our ability to be empathetic that separates us from other creatures. But when you are challenged with the duty of deliberately doing acts of kindness for random strangers, you are put in the position of a good will stalker. This holiday season, Yahoo! launched its "How Good Grows" campaign to inspire millions of people in the global Yahoo! community to change the world together through random acts of kindness. The goal: to create a ripple of generosity that combusts this holiday season along the lines of the butterfly effect. For such a simple and genuine quest I felt a daunting sense of awe. How does one select one person over another to help or is it more about the element of bestowing a kind surprise? I was conflicted about how to tackle this 'giving' project and I was stunned to think that a global company would have the vision to do something that didn't point directly to its bottom line financially.

The gamut of good

How did people extend their good hands to others? Some organized meals for friends who were not well, others did random acts of kindness such as paying expiring parking meters. I contemplated the best way to be a 'do-gooder' and then decided I needed to mix it up. I bought a homeless man a hot meal, treated a family to coffee at Starbucks, purchased extra food for a shelter, and then paid for half a dozen people to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Each and every time, I explained my Yahoo! inspiration and people were genuinely appreciative. I suggested that they pass along the good will and do something nice for others. While I didn't have the benefit of seeing all of these acts of kindness, I did see the man at Starbucks buy the next few people their drinks and then heavily tip the barista. Similarly, the man at the Golden Gate Bridge tollbooth said he was going to pay someone's parking meter when he was off work later that day. So maybe Yahoo! did have it figured out. People are what make their business successful and what better way to create brand awareness and help others at the same time than to send out soldiers of good will.

Empowering others with your actions

While my acts continue, like a compulsive obsession, I have remained inspired to tell others about how Yahoo! has made me a better person this holiday season. Daily my children ask me what good things I have done for others and they then proudly tell their friends. Nightly they share their actions of good will, and as a parent I see there is no better way to teach than by empowering them with my actions. Actions do speak louder than words, and the power of the ripple is growing, there are over 62,177 Ripples of Kindness recorded. Can you imagine how much bigger this program really is? How many people have been touched? I challenge you to give someone a smile, a bit of your time, or an unexpected surprise; the smiles received speak volumes.

To find out more about how other people's good deeds are creating good will be sure to check out Yahoo! Mother Board page. Thank you Yahoo! Mother Board for giving me the honor of participating in this program.

About Gina von Esmarch: When Gina is not talking tech or winking at a Campari she can be found cooking North of the Golden Gate Bridge at