Blog >
ROI on Kindness


ROI on Kindness


Susan Meier shares corporate (and life) advice wrapped up in memory.

After 75 years of frowning at fish, my father shocked me by booking an omakase sushi lunch for his birthday. My dad had always been a steakhouse guy, a meat-and-potatoes man.

Over the years, I’d tried to get him to eat fish, to no avail. Salmon. (Fish is good for you!). Tuna. (You have to eat healthier!) Tilapia. (It doesn’t even taste like fish!)

Now, as I watched him devour sea urchin and eel, I had to know what had succeeded where my fish-with-a-side-dish-of-scolding had failed.

On The House

It turned out to be Alfredo.

My parents began frequenting Alfredo’s restaurant, a local seafood spot, because “Alfredo is just so nice.” My dad figured he could have the pasta while my mother enjoyed the branzino.

Alfredo and his staff showered them with attention. Extra side dishes and desserts ‘on the house.’ A little anisette with the espressos. The hosts and waiters greeted them warmly by name each time they arrived, and soon they were weekly regulars with their own special table.

Alfredo began to bring my father a small plate of the freshest catch of the day “just to try.” Not wanting to be rude – because Alfredo was so nice – my dad would take a nibble of whatever he brought. My father was surprised to find himself enjoying the tastings, and soon he began ordering whole portions. 

One Thing Leads To Another

My dad told all his friends how good the restaurant was, and soon Alfredo gained a host of new regular customers. He also gained an on-call attorney, as my father offered his legal advice ‘on the house.’ My mother seized the opportunity to introduce my father to sushi. 

Small kindnesses are how you build relationships. When you’re nice, people want to be around you. They want to try what you’re offering. They want to be nice in return. Being nice also feels pretty good.

Niceness Makes The World Go Round

Our universe is held together by niceness. This is as true for building a business as it is for building a life. Engage in conversations, make friends, cultivate mentors. Build a tribe, and ask yourself how they feel, what they need, how you can help.

You are only as good as the people who love you. So be nice.

Access the full post, Be Nice, on