Really Cool Humans: Do Something Unexpected Today

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Really Cool Humans: Do Something Unexpected Today

View of Tokyo, Japan from the artificial island of Odaiba.

One evening during our recent trip to New York, Marlowe and I took a “sunset cruise” boat ride around Manhattan. My phone is at the age where the battery drains fast, and I was already low on power when we boarded the boat. I tried to take pictures strategically because Marlowe wanted to make sure we would be able to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty—as kind of the “grand finale” of the boat ride, we were to get an up close nighttime view of Lady Liberty after the sun has set. 

So when the boat got to the prime view of the Statue, I lifted my camera up, pushed on the photo icon, and watched it shut down. Battery, dead. Photo Opp, lost. “Well, we’ll just take mind pictures, Marlowe,” I shrugged, as Marlowe fought back her disappointment in missing the one photo she actually wanted. (I don’t know why this fake one I paid $10 for wouldn’t cut it.)  


Meanwhile, I had struck up a conversation with a lovely young woman sitting next to us, traveling on her own to NYC from Argentina. When my phone died, she offered to take a picture of Marlowe in front of Lady Liberty, and she even took down my email address and said she would send me a copy of it. I thanked her for her kindness, and assumed I would never hear from her again, as surely her travels back to Argentina and the chaos of getting back into a regular routine would send the priority of sending a photo to a stranger from a boat hurtling down to the bottom of the list. 

Except, guess what I got on Sunday? 


Look at how happy Marlowe seems.  

And as small of a gesture as it was, it had a huge impact, both on me and Marlowe: an act of kindness from a continent away that reminded me that “faith in humanity” is a pretty good thing to have, because there are a lot of really cool humans out there. Really cool humans that understand that the connections made in the briefest moments—moments that seem insignificant—can leave impressions and memories that linger on for a lifetime.  

Her act of kindness makes me want to be a really cool human, too. To look around for moments—for opportunities—to add a positive impact on someone’s day. To do something unexpected; follow through on a promise no one expects me to deliver on; to remember something important to another. What if we all started doing that? A Rising Revolution of Really Cool Humans, pouncing on every chance to make someone else say “Wow!” or “Really?!” or “Thank you!” or “That’s Awesome.” or “I can’t believe you remembered.”

A Rising Revolution.  Let’s do this.   

What can you do to be a Really Cool Human today?


Wings & Whimsy Challenge: Howl!

I think that what Really Cool Humans understand is that the
little things add up to EVERYTHING, and that small gestures
of kindness can have huge impact. When have you
encountered a Really Cool Human? Tell me about it in the
comments below, or tweet me @ErikaPetrelli1


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.