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Frank Blake

Announcing a New $50 Thank You Campaign

We’re bringing back a recognition program where you can send a Thank You with a $50 Gift Card to someone you feel deserves to be celebrated. Learn More.

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In life, it seems like things that are "too good to be true" are exactly that - not true, or accompanied by a hidden catch.


However, today we're announcing the return of a program that is both good and true.

With today's episode we're kicking off Crazy Good Turns' second $50 recognition program.

In this program, we'll send a hand-signed thank-you letter along with a $50 gift card to just about anyone who has done a kind thing.

Whether the kindness has been to your community, your work colleagues, your neighbors, or you personally, we want to hear about it.

There is no cost to you, no commitment and no "catch."

In 2020, we sent more than $27,000 in gift cards to recipients in 45 states and Washington, D.C.

We hope to leave those numbers in the dust this time around.

Our new goal: $55,000 in gift cards, or 1,100 Thank You Awards to deserving individuals.

Why do we think this program matters? And why would we pay for you to send a gift for someone else?

Because taking the time to thoughtfully thank someone is powerful for both the recipient and the giver.

In this episode, you'll hear just how powerful it can be.

Two people from our last round, Rich Armstrong and Michelle Volz, describe the feeling of nominating someone else for a $50 Thank You.

And then restaurant owner Ramiro Galvan, who fed kids in need throughout the 2020 pandemic shutdown, tells you about the feeling of receiving one of these awards.

Click the green Play Episode button above to hear their stories. And to send your thanks to someone, click here.

  • Why sending thanks to a dedicated caregiver felt so meaningful (3:23)
  • A restaurateur who gave away hundreds of meals explains the circle of generosity (6:04)
  • Why one recipient kept her thank-you letter (10:10)
  • How small kindnesses connect us (11:47)
  • How to send a $50 thank you (15:18)
FRANK BLAKE: Before our producer Brian Sabin goes through the details of how the program works, let me describe for you what I think we learned from the 2020 program.

First - and this seems obvious, but it came through clearly in the responses we received - there are two important elements of this program.

There is the recognition given to the person who's done something kind or thoughtful.

And - and this is important - there is the positive feeling generated by taking the time out of your busy day to thank someone.

Here's how Rich Armstrong, who nominated someone during our last campaign, describes the feeling.

RICH ARMSTRONG: I'm Rich Armstrong. I live in upstate New York, actually in the remote areas of the Adirondacks.

And my story is really about my aunt, who was being cared for by a special caretaker who took a personal interest to my aunt.


So Anita is her name. And up in the area of the Adirondacks where my aunt lived, it's not too easy to find a caretaker.

But she would come by pretty much every day.

Well, she had to every day, come by and take care of my aunt by preparing meals, cleaning, that sort of thing.

But she really developed a personal relationship with my aunt, a friendship, as my aunt would call it, a real friendship.

And to this day, she continues to visit my aunt in a nursing home.

I got a little emotional as I was thinking about it, writing it. I got a little bit emotional thinking... It made me think about what she was doing and it mattered and I just appreciated it.

So I felt a deeper connection a little bit because I thought about it.

I felt great. It made my day. Right? I think it made her day and it made my day.

I mean, we're talking about this, whatever it is, two years later and I distinctly remember it, right?

And there's not that many things I can think back two years and I distinctly remember a day.

FRANK BLAKE: I think Rich's clip captures such an important point.

That thing that you remember two years later, because it is such a powerful thing to take time and to thoughtfully thank someone.

And I think one of the things that makes Crazy Good Turns unusual is our listeners, all of you, understand that.

After all, that's why you take your time to listen to this program.

And it's also why I think the $50 recognition program was so successful. You recognize the importance of honoring others through the time you take to listen to their stories.

The second thing that I think we learned, was going through all the different nominations, it was clear that none - and I mean none - of the recipients of the $50 gift card expected to receive anything.

They didn't expect to get $50 out of the blue, and they didn't even expect to be noticed.

Being noticed and being noticed for doing a good thing is its own powerful, positive experience.

And we have another great clip from one of the people who was recognized in 2020 that reinforces that.

RAMIRO GALVAN: My name is Ramiro Galvan. I'm from Augusta, Georgia, and me and my family own a few restaurants here in town.

When COVID hit, the schools around here start closing down and we noticed that some part of the community might not be able to access food for the younger kids.

We decided to step in.

Well, we come from a background where we relied on school as well to eat. I figure, I was like, well, we have the means to do it.

Let's do it because back then when we didn't have what we have right now, people actually help us as well.

So I was like, well, whenever I got the means or whatever, I'm going to do the same thing.

We were going to do it only for so many months, but then the schools didn't reopen and it was just they extended longer.

So we decided we extend ours a little longer. So we had three locations at that point. Right now we only have two, we had to close one down due to the pandemic, unfortunately.

When I first got the letter and opened it, I started reading it and I was like, oh my goodness. I mean, it felt great that somebody noticed it, what we were doing.

It was just amazing the way it happened because I didn't expect that. Well, nobody from my team expected, you know what I mean? I thought nobody would notice it.

When I got the letter, it was a big push for me. It makes me continue doing it.

FRANK BLAKE: So I think Romero captures the essence of this in that last statement, that when you are recognized for something that you've done that's good for others that encourages you to do more.

And that's really in the end, a lot of what this podcast is all about.

Then the third thing, I don't know so much as this was a learning is a validation, is I'm a believer in the importance of the actual physical thing that you receive.

For those who know me, they know I write a lot of cards, a lot of handwritten notes, because there is a value in having that physical evidence of the gratitude expressed.

And we structured the program that way, so that you get a physical gift card, and you get a physical letter that summarizes the good deed that you did.

And I was pleased that when we heard back from some of the folks who participated in the 2020 program, the importance of that physical evidence came through.

We've got another clip that captures that.

MICHELE VOLZ: My name's Michele Volz, I'm in Southern California, I'm a coordinator here in Orange County for the Ignatian Spirituality Project.

We provide spiritual companionship to women in transition, women in shelters and in recovery.

I've been volunteering with homeless shelters for a few years, and I realize I'm an outsider, but the women who are inside, who know each other, are truly the best people to minister to each other.

Their stories are pretty harsh and brutal sometimes, but so many have been able to overcome that. Kind of risen, and to find their purpose in serving each other.

That just really inspired me.

Laura's at one of the shelters that I go to regularly, and with the pandemic, the women's shelter had completely shut down to protect themselves, so she stepped up as the cook.

Most of the food's donated, but she got real creative about it.

Oh, and in the middle of this, the oven went down and they didn't want to call in a repair person, so she was being very creative, trying to make meals for a quite large crowd and doing it with humor and grace.

Honestly, I almost forgot, because it was two years ago.

So I reached out to Laura, I texted her a few days ago and we had a phone call two nights ago.

She had saved this letter that you sent her and she went through her pile of stuff, sent me a photo of it and said it meant so much to her.

I remember she called me at the time and she was so excited about this gift card, and I don't think she even remembered what she did with it, but it was that letter that she saved, she said, "I just, I want to keep it."

I mean, how wonderful is that?

To have a physical thank-you, a physical recognition. That was important to her.

FRANK BLAKE: That clip captures the importance of the physical letter and the card. And so, I'm pleased that was something that was validated by our program.

The fourth learning - this is I think an important one, an important one I hope that all of our listeners think about - is because this was during the pandemic, we got lots of really powerful stories.

People who were doing amazing things for their neighbors, people who were knitting masks, delivering food, nurses in hospitals, doctors in hospitals, truly, the community all pulling together in an incredibly difficult time.

And that was very important and it's hugely important to recognize those acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.

We also got some letters, though, and these in their own way was powerful to me as some of the grander acts of kindness that were just on small kindnesses.

And one of my favorites was a nomination that came in from a woman that was going to her daughter's bus driver.

And how her daughter who has special needs was very anxious getting on the bus during the pandemic, and how this bus driver would reach out and talk to her and make her laugh and even stop occasionally and take her out for ice cream.

And you think of those small kindnesses and how they echo through our lives. And those, too, are worth recognizing and thanking.

And as I was thinking about that, I saw there is a great author, James Clear, he does a blog that I'd recommend to all of you.

And he printed a poem by Danusha Laméris, that's called Small Kindnesses. And it talks about how far we are now as the people from the fire and the tribe, but what still knits us together are these small kindnesses.

And so, I would encourage you when you are thinking about people to nominate and thank, that you don't think this is someone who has to have ended world hunger, but rather someone who's just behaviorally helped knit us all together with small kindnesses.

And that too came through from a lot of the nominations that came in.

And finally, because I did spend a lot of time in my life at Home Depot, I was thrilled that we got a lot of nominations from Home Depot associates, about other Home Depot associates, because that's very much the culture of Home Depot, the recognition and celebration of people.

And within that, I was particularly thrilled. There are validation points that you get for a program like this.

And the best validation point was some of the people who were nominated and whom I know well.

Crystal Hanlon, who runs the northern division at Home Depot, got a wonderful recognition note where the person ended it by saying, "If she could nominate Crystal for sainthood" she would.

And that's right. So it was great to see Crystal recognized.

And also, just two of my favorite leaders in New England, Lori Corelli and Kevin Chamberlain.

Kevin nominated his colleague, Lori, appropriately for recognition.

And it just feels good when you know that some of the people being recognized by the program are in fact, just outstanding people who deserve recognition.

So I'm very excited that we are going to do the program again. I hope we blow through the $27,000 level.

I hope we get to double that, and I hope we all have fun with it.

Although we want to have fun with it, we do have some rules that go along with it.

Most of them are the same rules as we had the last time. Some of them though are informed by the learnings of the first time through the program.

And for that, I'm going to turn it over to Brian. Brian, would you describe the rules and how we are going to do this?

BRIAN SABIN: Yes, absolutely. The Way this program works is pretty simple.

If you're listening to this episode, you can send a $50 Thank You award to just about anyone. All you need to do is the following:

Go to crazy good turns dot org forward slash thank you. That's crazygoodturns.org/thank you, all one word.

There you'll find a form to fill out. You'll need to know the person's name, an address where we can send the award, and most important of all - the story.

When you give us a great, detailed story that explains what the person did for you that was so kind, or why the person is so inspiring, that is very helpful to our team.

It means we can send the award much more quickly.

Whereas sometimes, we get a letter that is like "I'd really like to nominate Bill because he is a nice guy."

We certainly believe you, and we bet Bill is great.

But we need to know: Why is Bill great? What does he do for you, or his neighbors, or whoever?

Provide those details and we can fulfill the award right away.

Outside of that, there are just four rules:

  • RULE #1: No self nominations
  • RULE #2: No group nominations.
  • RULE #3: No international nominations
  • RULE #4: Anyone can nominate up to three people max. We need to make sure there's enough to go around.
FRANK BLAKE: Perfect. And I'm going to put you on the spot, Brian, so you weren't prepared for this, but what was either your favorite story or your favorite element from the prior program?

BRIAN SABIN: Gosh, my favorite story from the prior program was sent to us by a listener named Abby Lerner.

Abby sent us the story of her husband. They were expecting a child at the time, and COVID just hit.

And we all remember COVID was strange and scary, and people were afraid to leave their house.

Her husband was an educator, he had to work in front of people.

And then when schools closed down, he didn't do what many people, including me, did in terms of hiding inside and using grocery delivery services to take care of things.

He went out there and he delivered groceries to neighbors, and he waited on his wife hand and foot. And just did the things that we saw kind and exemplary people do during that time.

So I always think of that, and I think of him, they sent us a photo of him dropping off groceries on people's front doorstep.

And I just think about that, because it was such a great example and there were so many other stories like that in that moment in time. But Abby's husband is the one that always comes to mind to me.

FRANK BLAKE: Thank you, Brian. That's terrific.

And I do believe this program is as good an expression of why Crazy Good Turns exists as anything else. We are here to celebrate good acts.

We are here also, I hope, to increase your appreciation of what's going on around you that is good and worthwhile.

An opportunity for you to exercise what one of our former guests would say is your "gratitude muscle."

So just as Brian said, when you are thinking about writing a nomination to actually take the time, what did this person do that I'm so grateful for?

So it's important to exercise that gratitude muscle, and it's actually fun and enjoyable.

So I hope you have fun with it. I hope you enjoy it.

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