The Fred Factor, a story about a mailman who went above and beyond the call of duty, is essentially about promoting the creation of value for others. A “Fred,” is noted by his or her ability to make others feel important. Our group decided that a great way of showing others their importance is by expressing gratitude.
We asked passerby to participate in a project we were doing for our class. We began by asking volunteers to identify one person for which they are incredibly grateful. They proceeded to write down this person’s name on a slip of paper, and then were asked to fill the rest of the sheet with reasons why they are grateful for him or her. Once this was completed, we asked the participants if they had time to go hang up their slip on the wall around the corner from where we were stationed. If they obliged, we guided them to the spot, and instead of asking them to hang the slip of paper on the wall, we asked them to call the person they wrote about, and read what they wrote. Surprise!
Simply watching people write was an empowering feeling. The concentration, the smiles; such happy and fulfilling emotions were expressed. Those who had time to take the next step enhanced the project that much more; hearing the conversations was truly heart-warming. As a member of this group, I acted as a Fred, in that I encouraged people to think positively and reach out to someone they deemed important. Furthermore, our group enabled our participants to act as Freds, because by experssing their gratitude, they added value to other people’s days.
The entire time we worked on this project, I kept thinking about who I could be writing about. I am humbled to say that I could not narrow it down completely, so I wrote multiple letters about multiple people. My parents, my roommate, and my teachers from high-school all received a call or email. I realized that by sharing my thanks for others, I found myself feeling happy and even more grateful.