I debated as to whether or not I could talk about this or not and even twittered about it. Then I decided since I hadn't done it for altruistic reasons but had instead done it for selfish reasons blowing my own horn was entirely acceptable so here I go (insert fanfare here... in mp3 format without DRM).
Today I went to Verizon to unload my Blackberry Curve on them. I had it for a month and didn't really love it ever. It's an extra thirty bucks a month for the thing, the full keyboard is nice, but I've only got two thumbs so can't type noticeably faster with it than I could my previous slider phone, and I really didn't use many of the features it offered. I wanted to geocache with it, but Verizon advertises it has GPS enabled but only allows the GPS to work with it's own software... that you pay an ADDITIONAL ten bucks a month to use. So... the phone HAS GPS but can't use it with 3rd party programs and if you want to use it for turn by turn directions you have to pay more money. Screw you. No love. So... going to get a new phone.
I'm browsing phones and in walks some eleven year-old looking army guy. He's young... very young. But he's in the army so probably over eleven years old. He's got an ancient blackberry with him. His problem is his phone's camera won't work and he wants to take pictures of his new kid but he shows them... bad pictures, no good. He loves the blackberry and wants them to just fix it for him. He can't afford to get a new one, even with new every two the blackberry's are expensive and he's trying to not charge things blah blah blah... He's got a problem... they're not helpful and I've got a blackberry I hate. There's NO WAY I can't help but look good here right?
"Hey. You like your blackberry? Use the functions and stuff," asks I.
"Love it! Just the camera won't work and want pictures to take with me, and movies and stuff." Says he looking crestfallen.
"Here's the thing. I've got an extra blackberry, and you can totally have it. Seriously. It's got the new 2 mega-pixel camera, lots of storage, couple programs downloaded already, whole nine yards. You can have it."
"Yep. Works fine. The thing is. If I have that, my boss can e-mail me and he knows I get it and have to answer. If I unload it and replace it with a different phone he can't e-mail me. We both win right?"
He takes the phone and grins this huge grin, whole face lights up. Firm handshake, looking at his new toy. Lady behind the counter says "I'm getting goosebumps" then she starts crying. I'm mugging like a jackass thinking "THIS is the perfect grand gesture! Everybody here is going to talk about this later and that's awesome. What a cool Christmas story!" That's what I was thinking. As I got my new phone back, with the numbers in it, and slid in my memory card I did the ultra-casual wave, "Have a good Christmas and come home safe OK!" As the door swung shut behind me I thought WOO HOO!!! I'll never have a chance like that again and it was great!
Now. I didn't do it for him. Total stranger. Don't know the guy, and don't know if he beats the heck, out of his girlfriend or not (but do know he knocked her up and didn't marry her) and doesn't want to charge a new phone up because he's already in debt from hookers, gambling and cocaine. No clue. But right then, that moment was so cool because of how it made me feel like I was able to do something cool and so perfect for that moment. Just minutes before he'd gotten there I asked I'd asked if they had a buyback program for the newer phones and been told no but maybe on e-bay. To go from that to making his day all without spending a dime more than I was going to spend anyway? A no-brainer. Yeah, if he'd been an old farmer dude I'd have walked on. But he was Mr. Poster-boy Army recruiter dream kid. All wet behind the ears hands and feet too big falling all over himself polite kid... and THAT made the story that will be told perfect.
Seriously. If you get a chance to do a huge magnanimous gesture take it. It's an awful lot of fun and like I said... I didn't do it for him. I did it because it really feels good. I think I'd make a great millionaire. Help me win the lottery and let's find out together right?