The Currency of Gratitude

Thank You Token: What’s Our Story?

How theThank You Token idea was born, or, how mis-delivered undergarments sparked a gratitude revolution

It all started with a missing package. I received an email notification that a package had been delivered by USPS to my door on a Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t heard the mail carrier, so I went to the front door to retrieve it and discovered…no package. Disappointed, I tried to call the local Post Office to notify them that something was awry with my delivery. But they had closed for the day and they wouldn’t be open again until Monday morning. I speculated that, rather than having been stolen from our stoop (because we’d been home all that day), the package had most likely been mis-delivered. I sarcastically quipped at the time, “I hope whoever got our package enjoys the new t-shirts and underwear!” I anticipated having to go through the post office and/or the company from which I’d ordered to get our items replaced. Another annoyance I really didn’t relish.

Then came a knock on the door. It was 9:35 AM the next day. Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t answer the intrusion of a Sunday morning knock, but my husband Scott had an inkling as to who it might be, and opened the door. It was a lady carrying a large white packing envelope. She said that she lived at the same house number a block over and our package had been delivered to her house in error. I was ecstatic – my prodigal package had been returned! Of course Scott thanked the lady profusely for her kindness in bringing the package to us – but to me, it didn’t seem like “thank you” was quite enough.

I know it was, in the grand scheme of things, just five or ten minutes of her day and a little common courtesy – but her actions made a huge impact on me. A small kindness of a stranger not only made me happy but made me want to return the favor so she could likewise experience that little bright spark of positivity. A little reminder that we’re all in this together and all it takes is an act of kindness and some gratitude in return to remind us of that fact.

The world in which we live is complicated; it’s easy to fall into the mindset that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference. Well, I refuse to believe that! In a very small way, that mis-delivered package incident taught me a life lesson: That the gesture can be small but the impact huge. That’s why I say:

Let’s start a gratitude revolution!

Enough with the world’s negativity! Enough with a pessimistic outlook! Enough of the “me first” mindset! Enough with people only being motivated by profit! We’re vowing to do good for the sake of doing good!

And how, pray tell, are we going to put action to that vow? I took a few days for contemplation and consideration. Then, one day in the shower (which is where and when my best thinking happens) some thoughts came together. I wrote my ideas out in a Facebook post, which I read to Scott just before I published it, to get his feedback:

Gina’s midweek ponderings: Social Customs Edition. A custom becomes a custom because it is an action that is repeated over time. All customs had a first occurrence, so I propose a “new” custom be born.

I think we need a physical “thank you token” to give to those who have done us a kindness. Beyond feeling thankful and verbally expressing gratitude, I think it should become our custom to hand a person a small token of thanks. Nothing of monetary value – something to express only sentiment; a tiny physical acknowledgement of our gratitude. Of course it wouldn’t be mandatory to give or ever be expected. When offered it would provide additional satisfaction to the giver that her feelings of appreciation have been more fully expressed. When received, it would reinforce the thoughtful behavior in the person performing the kindness (I’ve always been a big proponent of positive reinforcement).

The way I see it, this practice would make people more aware of the kindnesses around them while making kind behaviors more prevalent.

Who’s with me on this? Let’s start a custom!

Scott’s reaction: That’s not a Facebook post. That’s a fantastic project. Let’s do this – let’s make a token for people to share to demonstrate gratitude! Within moments, was purchased. And away we go!

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