This morning I left the house 15 minutes early and stopped by the local donut shop for a dozen doughnuts on my ride to work. The shop wasn’t busy at all and I was able to bring my bike in with me and park it next to the door instead of locking it outside (more time lost). I ordered a dozen small doughnuts and asked the lady to please cut all of them in half before putting them in the box. I paid my $7.95 and a few minutes later I had a happy pink box oozing the wonderful smell of sweet fried sugar. Luckily, the box fit perfectly in my basket on top of my handbag and bag lunch and I was off to the train station. I even got to the train station early and ran into Biketwin on the way there (that never happens because I am usually so late and barely making the train).
After I got on the train, I opened the sweet-smelling box and was pleasantly surprised that the lady at the doughnut shop had thrown in some doughnut holes in too; that was really nice of her! Once the train started moving, I went down the aisle of the bike car yelling:
Hi everyone! Thanks for riding your bike today! Would anyone like a doughnut?
There were a lot of takers, some very enthusiastic, but a few refused with a polite smile; I did another round after people got on in Mountain View too. It was fortunate that there were the doughnut holes because some people wanted something sweet, but didn’t want to eat an entire half doughnut.
I still had doughnuts left by the time I got off in Palo Alto, so I entrusted them to some fellow bike commuters. On my way out of the bike car, a guy handed me a dollar and said thanks for helping him start his day off positively (that totally made my day, nice guy!!). As I got off the train, I let people getting on know there were doughnuts in the bikecar and to make sure to grab one, and I heard a few of them tittering about it.
A lot of people on the train asked me what the occasion was and why I brought the donuts and I replied that 1) it was Friday, 2) you rode your bike to work, and 3) I just felt like doing it. A bunch of them said it was a really nice thing for me to do. Now, I would not call myself a super-nice person by any means (I am downright catty at times), but I do like doing things once in a while that make others happy and this seemed like a good thing to do. Plus it was easy and totally minimum effort. I didn’t have to go out of my way to get the doughnuts and I didn’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money too.
Also, it affects people who are right here, people I see most mornings, rather than giving my $8 to a cause where I don’t have constant contact. Sure, $8 could probably be more useful feeding children in [enter third-world country here], but I won’t immediately see the effect of my $8 and I sure won’t be showered with gratitude and happy smiles if I send my $8 off to some poor kids. I’ll just have to hope that my money helped some kids and didn’t get eaten up in administrative expenses like mousepads, paper clips, and red staplers.
Wait, so I’m pretty much saying that it was a selfish act to give people donuts. Hmm… yeah that sounds about right. I do something "nice" for others so that I can feel awesome and generous. Look how awesome I am, I brought you sweet fried dough rings! I bet you are loving me right now, as you should! Oh and look, I’m going to write a blog entry about it too so everyone can know how awesome I am! Bow down, people!
Pretty gratuitous huh, not that I have a problem with that. I only wish I’d taken a photo with my camera of people enjoying their doughnuts. Dammit!
I hope you had a pretty awesome Friday too and that somehow your day was brightened by something that happened.
Just so you know, my other option was to bring a 6-pack of beers on the evening train to hand out, but the morning donuts worked out better logistically speaking.