That One Small Gesture

Accountability Gratitude Kindness


Key Point: Sometimes one little gesture can lead to something much bigger for someone else. It is so easy to pass, because the little act is just that… Little. I just received this email, and I’ve removed some details to protect the privacy of the people involved. Hopefully you’ll get the point:

“Hi Mr. Rubis,

You may not remember me, but I’m the girl that [redacted] you with [redacted].

You spoke with my branch manager, and asked him to bypass the holding period on my checks.

I just wanted you to know how much you helped me that day. My branch manager went out of his way to help me, even waived my banking fees for a year, as well as sat down and gave me good advice regarding my very messed up financial affairs. (My story is a long and convoluted one, and I’ve had a terrible time recovering financially from it, among other things). Since I last saw you, with immediate access to my money, I haven’t been to Cash Money to take out payday loans, and I’m slowly coming back to financial stability.

I thought it might interest you to know, as of today, I’ve opened my first business account at ATB. [Redacted] and I are going into business together to fulfill our dreams.

It may sound overly ambitious, but we have several ideas for businesses that we are going to try to implement over the coming months and years, and I plan to use ATB for all our business ventures’ financial needs. I can never thank you enough for your kindness!! Bless you!

Many thanks.”

I am no hero. I simply listened to her story, knew we could assist, and immediately took the action to put her in contact with people I knew who would help. They did the hard work. The lesson is about being present, listening and being self-accountable. And if there’s one distinguishing factor about self-accountability that I’ve learned over many years thinking, researching and writing about it, it’s that one must have a “do it NOW” mindset or best intentions will be overcome by inertia.

Character Moves:

  1. Look for and respect the little gesture of help. We never know when that one act will result in a much bigger ripple effect. It may be a brief and warm greeting, a small note, a held open door, connecting someone to another… And after, the world moves forward just a little bit. 
  1. A “do it now” mindset is not meant to imply being rash or impulsive. However, you and I know we run into opportunities every day where “now” action is the right thing to do, but we procrastinate and often miss the opportunity. Do it now!

Little gestures in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: I remember recently I was at the gas station across from my home in Santa Monica. I’m in line and I heard some very distinct East Coast accents. You’ll hear many tourist accents around here, but you could tell these guys were traveling through on a road trip. One guy yelled at his friend in line behind me, to “put $20 bucks on pump three.” (Add your thickest Jersey accent, and probably an expletive for safe measure). So I got a sudden idea. I bought what I needed and then asked the attendant to “add that $20 on pump three for me.” The Jersey dude’s shocked reaction, and gratitude, was worth the price. It really was. At first he refused to accept, but it’s well known that California folk don’t get the best rep on the East Coast, so I just said, “guys, have a great time here, and tell people back home that all Los Angeles people aren’t what they probably think.” Ultimately, that move was selfish on my part, because that $20 was better spent there than it would have been anywhere else. It was fun, memorable, and felt great. And those little gestures certainly don’t have to cost money, but they always buy us happiness.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis