It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

23 Sep

Love Statue

This week I traveled to Philadelphia on business. My old business. After a call from an old client asking if I could help run the logistics of their incentive program, I decided to take them up on it. Is this the job I’m in search of because I’m passionate about it and feel that I’m truly making a contribution to the happiness of others? No. But, as I’m not doing much else, it would be irresponsible to not at least make some money when the opportunity arises. And besides, I’ll break my low-carb diet for a bite of a Philly Cheesesteak.

I’m here for six days and have decided that, in order to fill this need to make the world a better place, I will commit to performing one random act of kindness (RAoK) per day. After all, this is the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’

Tuesday – Day 1

I fly out today. I’m seated next to a man who doesn’t quite understand personal space. I have a rule – whoever is in the middle seat gets the armrest. The middle seat is such a terrible place to sit that I figure that person should at least have a place to put their arms. Still, do a person’s shoulders need to rest halfway into my seat so I’m forced to sit with my face plastered to the window like a bug smashed on a car windshield? I take pity on him and consider offering my seat to his wife who is stuck in the seat behind him as they couldn’t get two seats together. But two thoughts come to mind: 1) He or she may be quite happy with a little less togetherness and 2) That would put me in a middle seat. After considering this I feel certain I can find some other random act of kindness to do today.

I’m visiting my cousin for a day before moving over to my hotel to work. She has arranged for a car and driver to pick me up. Upon landing, I receive a voicemail from Phil, my driver, asking me to call when I have my luggage. I make my way down to baggage claim, grab my bag and give Phil a call. After a few minutes Phil and I make contact and we’re off. After what seems like hours (winding roads have me rolling down the window and trying to breathe like a dog on his first car-ride of the spring, so as not to lose the salad I had for breakfast – yeh, salad for breakfast, I know). When Phil announces that we’re ten minutes out, it’s time for my first act of kindness. On my way to baggage claim I stopped and bought a big, American sized bar of crappy American chocolate. I tell Phil about my ‘random acts of kindness’ mission this trip and hand him the candy bar. He seems truly touched.

*Note: When I call Phil later in the evening to arrange a ride for the next day, he informs me that his name is Steve, not Phil. Perhaps he would have been truly touched if I had gotten his name right.

Wednesday – Day 2

Today, while my cousin Adrienne was on a business call I went out for a run. I discovered that it’s important to know the address of the house you’re staying at as many houses look alike when you’re lost in your iPod. I’ve done this before in Barcelona. At least this time, I didn’t end up in the red light district. After lunch with Adrienne, Phil/Steve picks me up to take me to my hotel in the city. 911After checking in and making my way to my room, I decide it’s nap time. Apparently I’m mistaken. It’s evacuate the hotel time, as lights flash and a voice is blasted through my room telling me there is an emergency and I should not proceed to the nearest elevator but instead, hike down nine floors. Coincidentally I’m staying in room 911. I start wondering why nobody called me as that’s who you call in an emergency. After the ‘all clear’ I make my way back to my room realizing that I have not yet performed my random act of kindness yet. I find this disappointing as I thought this would just come naturally and I wouldn’t have to think about it.

I venture down to the hotel wine hour in the lobby as, well, free wine…must you ask? A little truffle popcorn to accompany it (yum) and I’m headed off to dinner. Still no RAoK.. Following dinner I take a walk through Rittenhouse Square where I come upon a bassist (the upright kind – always more impressive) and a trumpeter playing ‘Yesterday.’ I enjoy the music and drop some money in the bass case. Not very creative but appreciated I’m sure. I vow to do better tomorrow.

Thursday – Day 3

Today I arise not nearly refreshed after a long night of coughing (apologies to the person in the room next to me). I put on my happy face and head down to meet my client and co-workers for breakfast. Following that, we head up to a 45 minute meeting that lasts three hours. During small talk I mention my goal of doing one random act of kindness per day on this trip. There is silence. Everybody looks at me like I’ve just farted in the room. I had hoped to inspire them to perhaps join in but instead, they looked at me as if to say, “Uh, not sure about entrusting her assisting our very important clients.” I concentrate on not letting this ruin my morning or my resolve to brighten someone’s day.

Following our meeting we spend the remainder of the day visiting the venues to which we will take our various attendees. One place is Reading Terminal Market. After doing a quick walk-through of the place, we stop at an ice cream shop near the exit for what is supposedly the best ice cream in Philadelphia. Well, I should say that they stop as my co-worker and I don’t eat sugar. Directly across from the ice cream shop I notice a flower stand. I think I’ve just figured out today’s random act of kindness. I purchase a single pink daisy. My plan, to give it to someone who appears to be having a bad day.


I walk back across to the ice cream shop and, before my clients can ask what the hell I’m walking around with a flower for, I risk that, ‘you just farted look’ and explain. Not thirty seconds passes when one of my clients points to the lady behind the ice cream counter and says, “I think she’s having a bad day.” I eye her with a skeptical look as I’m not sure she understands that my goal is not to give it away quickly so I don’t have to lug it around with me, but to give it to someone who could just use a little pick-me-up. She tells me that she heard the lady telling her coworker something like, “Well, he’s going to have to call me and apologize ’cause I’m not calling him.” That gets me (ladies, haven’t we all been there?). I step up to the counter and get her attention. I hand her the flower telling her that I hope she has a nice day. She looks at me with surprise that looks nothing like the ‘you just farted look.’ She smiles and simply says, “No way!” My clients stand by, watching and smiling. As we walk down the street one client comments, “That was very spiritual of you.” I’m not sure this is the correct word to describe it, but I think it’s better than, “You just farted!”

Read part two at Random Acts of Kindness or Who Peed in Your Cocoa Puffs?


7 Responses to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

  1. Barbara Gabriel/MiddleChildWords September 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM #

    Ok, so I’m struck by your attitude: going into a new city and randomly tossing off acts of kindness instead of staying in your hotel room watching porn. Points for that. Second, giving away to sugar/candy to Phils or Steves or whomever when you don’t eat sugar? Entirely selfless and understanding of the human psyche. Pouring a glass of red and looking forward to part two…

    • Carole Rosenblat September 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM #

      Well thanks. People are people wherever you are. And kindness know no state or international lines. Besides, hotel porn can be quite expensive. As far as candy goes, if I don’t give it away I’ll eat it (okay, I snuck some licorice I bought at Reading Terminal Market. Don’t tell anybody).

  2. Kay Reichert September 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM #

    I LOVE you!!!    : ) I totally know the look you are describing..ha!   Have a lovely day!!!  K


    • Carole Rosenblat September 25, 2013 at 1:06 PM #

      Thanks. Huge compliment from someone who has done random acts of snow angels. The fact that you recognize ‘the look’ makes me wonder if it’s because you’ve done RAoK or farted in the room.


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    […] In case you missed it, I was recently in the Philadelphia on business. In keeping with the spirit of The City of Brotherly Love, I decided to do a random act of kindness each day i wads there. Read part one at It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia […]

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