The yellow envelope project: round one

by Kim on July 29, 2012 · 26 comments

If you haven’t yet read this post about the amazing gift that our friends Glenn and Michele gave to us before we left Portland to travel please do so now. It provides the background to this story and will also probably leave you in tears.

Brian and I are calling the gift from Glenn and Michele our Yellow Envelope Project. As the recipients of this incredible gift we feel like we are carrying around an exciting and special secret, searching for the perfect situation in which to reveal it. 

A few weeks ago we gave away the first of many Yellow Envelope Project gifts.

The first gift of the yellow envelope project

Brian and I emerged from our backpacking trip in the Tetons dirty and tired and in need of some serious down time. We’d walked dozes of miles up mountains and through snow. We’d spent the previous month in the company of others. I had an almost physical ache to go home and lay on my couch. Except, I don’t have a couch. Or a home.

We decided, instead, that we would get a hotel room and relax for a few days. We’d reunite ourselves with the internet. We’d call our families to say hello. We’d take ourselves out on a real date and not worry about our budget.

We selected Salt Lake City, Utah as our destination. Through the grace of Yelp we found a Mexican Restaurant with rave reviews called The Red Iguana. We arrived at The Red Iguana and found that there was a line out the door. Eventually we were seated and drinks were delivered.

Brian and I always have our best conversations over dinner and as we began to relax the conversation started flowing between us. We talked about all we’d done in the past few weeks and how it was almost inconceivable to us that we were actually doing what we’d dreamed of doing for so many years. It was clear that this date was exactly what we needed to reconnect.

The Red Iguana- home of the first Yellow Envelope Project gift

As we were finishing our meals and reflecting on all of the adventures we’d had so far two men with guitars came into the room and gathered around our table. Would you like a song?” the older man asked me. Of course!” I answered back. He looked at Brian and I with a twinkle in his eye “For you, we will play a song of romance.”

The men began singing and strumming their guitars. They sang in Spanish, so I didn’t know what they were saying, but they closed their eyes and threw their heads back and put everything they had into that song. It was wonderful.

When the song was over we clapped and thanked them for their performance. That song is the hardest to play but it is the best,” the older man said.  I slipped him a $2 tip and they disappeared from the room.

As we sat at our table smiling, Brian and I agreed that we’d needed that romantic song more than they’d ever know. We decided that these two men would be the perfect recipients of the first Yellow Envelope Project gift.  

As we rose to leave the restaurant Brian slipped the men what was surely their biggest tip of the night and told them, once again, how much we’d enjoyed their performance.  The men nodded their heads and smiled.

Brian and I left the restaurant talking about how great it feels when the right thing comes along at the right time. Those men made our night and we hoped that we were able to make theirs too.

It was a simple gesture but the perfect kick-off to the Yellow Envelope Project.

The men who sang their hearts out for us. It’s a blurry picture but all I have.

The thing about giving is that you never know the true impact of your gift. Perhaps your gift draws a smile or shines a tiny light in an otherwise normal day. If that happens, that is enough

But maybe, just maybe, the flame catches. Maybe the bit of kindness you’ve shown roars to life and spreads like wildfire. Maybe your act of kindness creates a chain reaction of good that sweeps farther and wider than you’ll ever know.

Kindness is powerful and has magic in it and it begins with us. Where it ends cannot be determined. 

Become a part of the Yellow Envelope Project. Do something good today and, when you do, share your stories in the comments section below or email them to me and I will share them in a future post. 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana July 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

What a great way to start the project! Thanks for keeping us posted on the great ways you’re giving away this gift :)

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

It was a great start! Can’t wait for the many more opportunities to come!

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AnnieGirl822 July 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

Awesome post. Admirable project. We will try and spread some yellow envelope love!

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

Thanks Annie! Spread the love around the world, if you can :)

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Ali July 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

Awesome, Kim! And yes, that first post definitely did bring tears to my eyes. I’m glad you found a nice way to start the project.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

Thanks Ali :)

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) July 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I can’t think of a better way to kick of the YEP! It must have felt SO GOOD to give back to those musicians in a way that was able to capture in some small part how much their song meant to you.

Also, it’s amazing how when you’re used to being a duo, being surrounded by others (even those you love) is SO draining. It’s times like this that make certain I’m some odd introvert/extrovert combination… I love connecting with others, but I definitely need time to recharge my batteries through solitude.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

I am TOTALLY an introvert/extrovert combo. I love people but need my alone time. Man, I really do feel the exhaustion of it all kicking in. It’s hard not to have a “normal.”

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Tiffany July 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I still remember exactly how emotional I felt when you first posted about receiving the “gift” from your friends..It was a much needed reminder that goodness, and selflessness still exists in this world….I can’t imagine how amazing it felt for you to distribute the first of many “yellow envelopes”….so happy for you, Kim :)

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks Tiffany. If I had more time I would actually *get* yellow envelopes to pass out, along with a tiny little explanation of the project. ONE DAY!

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Cheryl Dinan July 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Kim and Brian, I enjoyed your story about the envelope. I am sure the musicians were happily surprised. It sounds like you had a delightful evening also. Love, Mom

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Thanks mom. It was a great evening. Just what we needed!

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Michele and Glenn July 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Perfect! :) And isn’t it true…the hardest things are always the best. Your current adventure is proof of that.

Thanks for sprinkling some love around the world…and for inviting others to join in! Love ya!

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Love you guys too. Thanks for starting this amazing thing that is spreading goodness in the world.

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Rhonda July 30, 2012 at 7:21 am

Love it. How amazing that that one evening totally rejuvenated you. Can’t wait to continue to hear about the yellow envelope project and the smiles it will create all over the world.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

That evening was MUCH NEEDED! We are thinking about you guys a lot Rhonda.

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Carmel July 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

Glad you treated yourselves a bit, too. I think leaving a surprisingly large tip is a great way to start.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

It was simple but perfect.

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Machelle July 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm

You never know anyones back story and these men have probably been doing this for years and have had many struggles. I’m sure you impacted them in a big way and also the fact that it came from two strangers they will most likely never see again. You both are awesome!

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

Thanks Machelle. It definitely felt right!

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Tyrhone July 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

As great as Charities can be, sometimes we focus to much on people as a whole, and forget about those individuals who’s life you can make that little bit better by a kind gesture.

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

I always remember the times that I have been given big tips or nice gestures from strangers. Those are the things we don’t forget in life, you know?

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Pamela July 31, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I just read this and went back to read -The Gift That Changes Everything… What an amazing idea! Just reading about it makes me feel compassionate and brings warmth to my heart.

The world needs more people like Michelle and Glen!

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

The world sure does need more people like Michelle and Glenn. They are amazing.

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Hannah August 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I love that you just trusted your instincts and gave money to people in such a raw and honest way. No hype, just a beautiful gesture of kindness and generosity in the spirit of love. I hope that flame you carry with you sets the whole world alight xxx

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Kim August 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thanks Hannah, once again, for your kind words.

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