Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kindness and Local Happiness

Jim Sonefeld
Jim Sonefeld. Ring a bell?

You might know him as "Soni". You might know him as the drummer for a band called Hootie and the Blowfish. You might even know him from when he played soccer for the Gamecocks. Me, I moved to South Carolina from the West Coast at the end of 1996, and didn't really connect Jim with any of those things. I saw him around town over the years, but for the longest time I couldn't place him, I just always thought "I know I know that guy from somewhere!" (That somewhere eventually registered as having been MTV). See, when you live in Columbia, SC, the first thing you learn is that everybody knows everybody else, or knows someone who knows their mama. So I chalked up my feeling of deja vu as a part of that.

As time went on and I became more involved in my community, I became increasingly aware of Jim's presence in places and at times where folks could use a hand. Where awareness could make a difference. Where pitching in could inspire others to pitch in, too (one of my personal favorites: With A Little Love).

Enter Ken Carey and Local Happiness. Local Happiness is a refreshing new approach to fundraising which connects schools and other non-profit organizations with locally grown/sourced/produced items to sell, instead of the "traditional" wrapping paper and cookie dough fundraisers, and all the money stays right there in your community, in your local economy. Ken organized the First Annual Local Happiness Experience (an event to benefit Harvest Hope Food Bank). This event included performances and endorsement by some of South Carolina's #famouslyhot musicians (Lunch Money, you guys! But that's another post for another day...), and I had the pleasure of lending a hand with social media services on behalf of GraySail.

It was during the Experience that I told Jim I heard from a fan in New York via Twitter; I asked if he wouldn't mind saying hello to her. He smiled, agreed, was kind enough to take a moment to do so before going on stage.

It seems like a small act of kindness, but we both knew that it would make her day. What I didn't know is that it would make my day, too. This little act of human kindness, just a small break in the busy blur of life and work and charity and endlessly meeting and greeting, after a particularly grueling week... well, I was reminded that we're all just people. We're all connected. I'm reminded that a little kindness really can go a long way.

Thanks for the reminder, Jim.