Create a Wave of Good Feeling

July 21, 2009 at 6:24 am 2 comments

disneyland birthday pinThe post on June 9, Generations Go To Disneyland was not an accident; I was actually researching the amusement park in preparation for spending my birthday there. This year, Disneyland is offering free admission on your birthday, so on my big day I visited the “happiest place on earth.” 

The birthday fun started in the parking garage, when the attendant recognized the voucher I had on my passenger seat (you register on the web site and print out the voucher they send) and wished me a “happy birthday!” At the ticket booth, the staffer there also wished me a happy birthday, gave me a birthday pin to wear, and she wrote my name on it.  I put on my pin and went into the park.  At least one attendant on almost every ride wished me a happy birthday, most calling me by name.  The guy who sold me food and the nice lady who told me where the ladies room was both wished me a happy birthday.  It was like Disneyland knew it was my birthday (with the pin, of course, they did!)

In addition, everyone wearing the pins started wishing each other a happy birthday.  Adults of all ages were wearing pins, from grandfathers to young dads, and nobody got away without at least one “happy birthday” while waiting in line.  I started making a point out of wishing happy birthday to little kids next to me in line, if they were wearing a pin.  Kids would notice my pin and wish me a happy birthday.  A group I was riding with on a ride wished me a happy birthday.  I met another woman in line who spends every birthday at Disneyland, and I wished her a happy birthday.  This continued all day long, and the wave of good feeling overrode the heat, the waiting, the sore feet, and everything else.  None of that mattered, because it was my birthday and everyone knew and everyone cared.

Does it take Disneyland to do this? A huge marketing campaign, infrastructure to create the incentives, and an entire cast (as all Disneyland employees are called) trained in being super nice? Of course not! If you wish, you can create or participate in a wave of good feeling every day. Start “the wave” at a rock concert or sporting event with a group around you and see who picks it up and carries it around the stadium. Start an alternative Secret Santa campaign at the office, such as leaving funny poems for people instead of expensive gifts.

Participate in a “pay for the person behind me” line (also known as “pay it backwards”) at a toll booth, or in line for coffee. This begins when someone starts by paying for themselves and the person behind them, then when the next person finds out they have been paid for, they pay for the person behind them, and so on until someone who really needs the break gets a free toll or free coffee. Or just pick someone in a restaurant who looks lonely, or lost, and tell the waitress you will pay for their dessert – I haven’t seen anyone yet in a military uniform get away with paying for their own coffee in my local Starbucks.

Tell someone thank you, that you appreciate them, that their assistance was useful, and end your phone calls with “have a nice day.” And if you know it is someone’s birthday (I’m really bad at remembering), it doesn’t take a card or a present to celebrate. Just drop a note on their desk or just say hi and happy birthday.

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Clearing the Clutter The Devil Made Him Do It

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