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I caught a segment on the news this weekend about TOMS Shoes. Have you heard of them? I think he did an American Express commercial last year, but I didn’t pay much attention to it until I heard this story.
Here is their mission statement:
“TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.”
You may recognize Founder and Chief Shoe Giver (I love this title!) Blake Mycoskie from the TV show The Amazing Race, but lately he spends his time traveling to developing countries such as Ethiopia, where many people spend their days barefoot. These people are at risk of soil-transmitted diseases that can penetrate them through the soles of their feet, as well as infections caused by cuts and scrapes. A fate which could be avoided simply by wearing shoes.
Also, according to the TOMS site, many schools in these countries require shoes as part of the children’s uniform. If they cannot afford shoes, they cannot attend school.
In Ethiopia specifically, “Friends of TOMS, the non-profit arm of TOMS shoes, is working to support treatment of those affected by Podoconiosis. Podo develops from long term exposure to a collection of minerals found in the soil, causing extreme swelling of the legs, discomfort, and creating negative social stigmas. However, this disease is preventable with proper footwear and basic hygiene. By giving shoes and supporting treatment programs to those at-risk or suffering from Podoconiosis, TOMS and Friends of TOMS are making positive strides in the lives of the people in these communities.”
The One for One business model has proven to be successful, as “it has encouraged conscientious consumers to purchase and give more than 140,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need in just 3 years. By the end of 2009, TOMS will give an additional 300,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need all around the world, including at home in the US.” (Source)
There is no “Tom”, but TOM stands for “Tomorrow”, as in, there is a better tomorrow.
So, what about the shoes?
They’re not you’re every day look, but they’re unique. Men, women and children can all find some TOMS shoes, too!
All the styles come in multiple colors, too.
There’s even some for babies!
I think this company is amazing and I plan on purchasing a pair or two for my family. To learn more and watch the video that inspired this post, click here.
We don’t know you personally, but you’ve been so nice to us. It started back in October, when most of my family and a little of Michael’s took over the Hampton Inn during our wedding weekend. There were a lot of us. And they brought guitars. Which they played in your lobby late into the evening. You were great, working the evening shift at the desk and telling me the next day that it was a blast listening to the music and laughter fill your otherwise quiet night.
When I stepped out of the lobby in my wedding dress, there you were again. Did you work a double? You smiled at me, told me I looked great, and wished me luck.
The next night, as an exhausted and happily married couple stood in front of the “Welcome to the Hampton Inn: Our Last Name Wedding!” sign, laughing at how cheesy we were being (yet taking the picture anyway!), you ran over and removed the rest of the information on the sign so it would just be ours.
It’s been almost seven months since we’ve seen you, Dan, but you remembered us as we ran into your lobby at 11 p.m. last night with a request: can we please fax, oh, 15 pages, that have to be out before midnight?
“Of course!” you replied, telling us you remembered us from the wedding and asking how we were. Then you offered to fax everything yourself.
Dan, I don’t know your last name, but I know you’re a good person. Finding someone as courteous, helpful and cheerful (especially at 11 p.m.) as you is quite a feat. We are so appreciative of all the help you have given us, and I hope your boss reads the raving words I wrote about you on the “I caught this employee doing something great!” card that I filled to capacity.
Thank you, Dan, for all your help. There will be a card and a giftcard waiting for you at the desk tonight.
Molly & Michael
I mentioned earlier that I was going to try and consciously do small acts of kindness — inspired by those who are taking these tough times as an opportunity to help others.
Three years ago, we adopted Kodiak from the Newfoundland Club of New England. The club is made up of amazing people, many who unselfishly dedicate their lives to caring for and finding homes for this amazing breed. Recently, many dogs (not just Newfies) are being given up by their owners because sadly, they just can’t afford to keep them anymore.
Part of the adoption process includes a home visit, where a current Newfoundland owner checks out a potential adopter’s house. Our home visit went great and when the opportunity to do the same for someone else came up, we jumped on it.
Soon, Michael and I will perform our first Club home visit — with Kodiak in tow — and hopefully do our part to find another Newfie a good home. I can’t even describe the joy Kodiak has brought into our lives and if I can pass that joy onto someone else, I know I’ve done something great.
I, like many others, have been feeling the hit of this economy. As you know, I deal every day with unemployment. I notice the rise of prices in the grocery store and I stop and think now before many purchases. Do I need to go to Starbucks today, or do I just want to?
The news each day is disheartening. Story after story of how companies are going down the toilet and the ones we’re bailing out are misusing funds. It’s enough to send even the sunniest person to bed for a week.
Which is why I’ve been loving the stories featuring people helping people in these tough times. I encourage you to check out the NBC Nightly News series Making a Difference. Here you will find story after story of people across the nation coming together in a way — I think – not seen since 9/11.
One of my personal favorites was simple — shoppers waiting in line at the grocery store found an envelope being passed through the line. In it was $50 and a note saying if you need help today buying your groceries, please use this. If not, pass it on.
As the envelope made it’s way through, not only did people pass it on, but they added to it. I can only imagine how grateful the person who really did need it that day was to unexpectedly have it land in their hands.
I can’t do any grand gestures, but I am challenging myself to find a way this month to offer my own act of kindess to someone who needs it. And I’m challenging you as well. We can all make a difference — no matter how big or small.