Last November Alex Korchinski did something genuinely nice. His past good deeds range from serving dinner at a homeless shelter, handing out balloons at a children’s hospital, and baking cookies for his neighbors. Here’s what he did,
“I think I’m a fairly nice person (after all, I am Canadian). But I’m not that nice. What kind of effect would extreme altruism have on my well-being?
The answer, it turns out, was a huge one.
I decided that I would give one stranger $100 and 100 strangers one dollar and then compare the two. Which one did I feel was more impactful?
On November 5th, I withdrew $100 from the ATM and gave it to the first person I saw. It was surreal, for both him and I. The exact word he used was ‘dumbfounded.’ He then told me that he was using the money to buy a PO box (of all things). It was unequivocally the nicest thing I’d ever done for a complete stranger, and it felt pretty good.
I wasn’t sure if giving 100 strangers one dollar could measure up. But a couple weeks later, I decided to try.
Thank the heavens for the people of San Francisco and for Greg and his camera… [the] beautiful people of San Francisco taught me that happiness spreads. That kindness begets more kindness.
That a smile, a handshake, a hug are worth so much more than money.”