Imagine you’re in the drive-through line at Starbucks, desperately waiting for your daily caffeine fix. When you reach the window, the barista hands you your order and says, “you’re all set – the car in front of you just paid for your order!” It’s in the spirit of this amazing feeling that Fennemore celebrates Random Acts of Kindness Day (officially February 17, 2021 – but so powerful each and every day)!
In this crowdsourced article, we asked some of our attorneys two questions: 1) what’s the most randomly kind thing that has ever happened to you? 2) What will you do today to help make our world a better place – for no other reason than it feels so good?!
Amy Abdo, Director in our business litigation practice group:
- As a busy litigator, I do everything I can to be present for my two daughters’ games, activities and other important events. I pride myself on always being on time. I had a court proceeding scheduled, but knew I would make it to my daughters’ gymnastics performances if I headed there straight from court. That day, unlike any other day, the judge kept us longer than scheduled and I walked in as my 4-year old daughter was in the middle of her routine. I was crushed as my eyes met her eyes. My eyes started to well up, but I quickly composed my deflated self and quietly tip-toed to the back of the room. When the performances were over, her coach made a beeline for me. She said “you are such a great role model for your girls and your actions teach them what it means to work hard, be dedicated and have a solid work ethic. You are an amazing mom and these lessons will guide your daughters for life.” She hugged me tight and said “keep crushing it, mom!” I will never forget her words. I am confident she doesn’t remember the conversation, but she gave me deep peace that I constantly draw upon when my juggling act falls off balance.
- I am always trying to pay it forward through love, encouragement and generosity. I take the opportunities to help someone in need whether it is as simple as taking their empty grocery cart back to the store or as broad-reaching as feeding a hungry army. “I do it because I can!” If we have the time, ability or financial wherewithal to help others, then we should answer the call and step-up up to the plate every chance we get. If everyone joined in, the world would be a better place.
James Goodnow, CEO:
- In 2013 I was hospitalized with kidney disease. The first visitor I had was one of my partners at the firm. It was someone with whom I was friendly, but not someone with whom I practice or interact on a day-to-day basis. I was so moved that one of my colleagues would take time out of their day just to check on me. Thankfully, my kidney disease ended up being treatable and I made a full recovery. But I’ll never forget that moment.
- Although big, random acts of kindness are inspiring, for most people, the kindness and respect we show in our everyday communications will have the biggest long-term impact on others. I’ve seen a lot of it at work first hand at the firm. The pandemic has been challenging and exhausting for all of us. What I’ve been impressed with in everyone at the firm is how folks have displayed remarkable patience, not lost their cool, and communicated clearly even under extreme pressure. I will strive to do my part to reinforce that type of respect in communication. When it comes to our interactions with one another, kindness shouldn’t be random.
Kimberly A. Howard Arana, Director & member of our management committee
- When my daughter, Marisa, came home unexpectedly before starting graduate school and announced that she had a one month wellness program planned for her father and me. This entailed making us healthy foods, giving us manicures and pedicures, remodeling to update rooms, make a separate exercise room and separate home office, painting the inside of the house, having us journal our feelings every evening, throwing a surprise party for us with our close friends, amongst other matters. The joy of having her with us, together with all she did, made our lives a lot happier and easier.
- I will continue performing pro-bono legal services, including for a recently widowed woman and for those who cannot otherwise afford legal services.
Mark Hawkins, Director in our real estate practice group:
- It seems that I am the recipient of many random acts of kindness. One that comes to mind is my neighbor who brought us a box of fresh fruit from their farmers market in California.
- I plan on leaving a note and some goodies for a neighbor friend, Brad, who recently lost his wife to COVID-19.
Bruce Dahl, Director in our intellectual property practice group:
- Being selected by the Denver Area Council to receive the 2016 Spirit of Polaris award for my contributions at the unit level of Scouting.
- Hold the door for another customer at the local hardware store.
Craig Etem, Director in our business and finance practice group:
- When I was 15-years-old my family moved to Madrid, Spain, for my father’s job. My brothers and I wound up going to school on a US Air Force base that was a little ways outside of the city. I had no friends and few prospects of making any. So, I sat at lunch alone every day. One day, a guy who may have been all of a year older, came over to me and said, “Hi, I see you sitting alone every day. Why don’t you come over and sit with us?” I won’t say it made my experience easy or that I became best friends with these guys, but it certainly made my life a lot better as, after that, I sat with this guy and his friends every day. And, even had a few people to say “hello” to in the hallways! This nameless guy had nothing to gain as I certainly was not going to add to the “cool” factor of the crowd. He was, simply, a kind person.
- I am going to treat every person with whom I interact with respect and kindness.
Heather Macre, Director in our health care practice group:
- On my birthday in December, my neighbor noticed that we did not go out. This was because a babysitter cancelled on me. My neighbor volunteered to take my daughter, so my husband and I could have a brunch date the next day, and used the time to make wonderful holiday cookies with my daughter!
- I always try to do little things like hold the door for others, put my shopping cart back, etc. Today I will probably buy coffee for the person in line behind me at a local place – to give that person a smile and to support a local business.
Taylor Burgoon, Associate in our business litigation practice group:
- The nicest random act of kindness I’ve experienced was in college at Michigan State University. It was a typical Michigan winter day – icy and freezing. Due to the weather, I drove to class instead of riding my bike. When I got to class, I had forgotten my wallet and could not pay the parking meter. The campus was very strict on giving parking tickets, so I knew a $30 parking ticket was inevitable (which was a lot of money for a broke college kid). A dad of another student saw me struggling to look for change in my car. He came over and paid my meter and applauded me for making it to class in sub-degree temperatures. That small act of kindness helped me more than he knew.
- I live in Downtown Phoenix and commonly come across those less fortunate who live Downtown without a home. Today, I will buy a warm meal for one of those people, something I am sure they do not get often enough.
Emily Ward, Director in our business litigation practice group:
- One of the nicest random acts of kindness was when I was working at Starbucks and a restaurant owner came through the drive-thru. I told him that I loved his sandwiches (especially the Arizona tri-tip), and we had a great conversation about running his business. A few hours later, the owner sent over sandwiches for the whole Starbucks team, including one marked “Emily’s Arizona Tri-Tip.”
- I’m a big believer in giving out compliments. Every day I make sure to tell at least one friend, family member, or colleague that something they did positively impacted my life. The other person is so happy to receive the compliment, but it makes me even happier to let the people know how much I care about them.