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Home Blog 3 Heart-warming Stories to Banish those January Blues

3 Heart-warming Stories to Banish those January Blues

Photo of Andy Cakebread Andy Cakebread 17 January 2022
Rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds in a blue sky

A New Year ushers in a sense of optimism and hope. While 2022 is still tinged with uncertainty for all, at Thankbox we are uplifted by the positive effect simple acts of appreciation can have. After all, we know a Thankbox virtual group card, chock full of sincerity and kindness, really ‘brightens people’s days’.

Now we’re in gloomy January, the post-Christmas time of year traditionally associated with a lack of cheer, we took heart from these three wonderful stories of ordinary folk having an extraordinary effect on others. We celebrate their selflessness, innovation and genuine desire to help. Proving that, despite those January blues, there is always someone, somewhere that can put a smile on your face.

Twenty Years of Kindness

Chris Buckler has been dispensing random acts of kindness for over twenty years in his home town of Hinckley. His motivation? “I just like the reaction, that’s all I do it for. It makes me feel nice that you’ve given somebody a bit of a lift and maybe brightened their day, given them something to smile about and talk about“. It’s that simple.

His mission of kindness started by giving the local baker’s unsold bread to neighbours, friends and people he met. It evolved into giving chocolate to dog walkers, families and shoppers at his local supermarket. Now more than twenty years later he was overwhelmed by a, not so, random act of kindness when staff at his local Aldi filled his car with gifts while he was doing his shopping.

Chris Buckler whose random acts of kindness recognised by Aldi manager in Hinckley

Brightening someone’s day and putting smiles on faces? We’ll toast that 🥂. Imagine if the world had more Chris’?

A Thankbox party popper icon for a celebration group card Go ahead - make their day

Celebrating good people in life is so easy with a Thankbox. One click and you're on the way to spreading love and smiles for a special person.

(Chop) Sticking it to Waste

Felix Böck, an innovative mind in Vancouver. He applied his skills in wood-engineering and “German efficiency thinking” (not his quote he notes) to the wood and construction waste in the city. Vancouver put over 100,000 bamboo chopsticks into landfill every single day.

Felix’s frustration at a lack of industry concern triggered his innovation and inspiration. The result was ChopValue. Beautiful, desirable and functional objects created from re-engineered chopsticks. “These chopsticks travel 6,000 miles to arrive on your dining table for 20 to 30 minutes,” said Böck, 31. “You can’t possibly feel good about throwing them out afterwards.”

ChopValue of Vancouver wall products

As a circular, carbon-negative, initiative, it is a complete process that covers sustainably sourced new chopsticks, urban harvest, micro-factory processing and creation of new objects. To date, ChopValue has resulted in:

  • 47,903,827 chopsticks* being recycled and transformed

  • 65,819.86 kg of carbon being stored

ChopValue, Vancouver process GIF from collection to second life and new products

“There’s this cheesy saying that every small action matters,” he said. “But I think we’re proving that in a fairly practical and exciting way.” All proving that smart-thinkers who see ‘waste’ as a ‘resource’ can make for a better world, one chopstick at a time in this case.

* 29th December 2021 | More on The Guardian

Station Manager Puts Domestic Abuse Survivors On Right Track

Rail to Refuge sign from story about Darren O'Brien and Women's Aid

Life is not always bright and cheery. This is a story that speaks volumes about the hidden ills of our society and the effect one person can have to give hope to victims of domestic abuse. In February 2019 Darren O’Brien, a station manager for Southeastern Railway, watched a TV documentary about a Women’s Aid group. He was moved by the story of a woman and her three children unable to reach sanctuary at a refuge because she couldn’t afford to travel.

His concern and swift action resulted in Rail to Refuge. Free rail travel for those in need of help. The effect has been transformative, especially given the rise in domestic violence during periods of lockdown. The first year saw 1,348 survivors, including over 300 children, reach a place of refuge.

Sadly, the pandemic has made domestic violence endemic for many. The demand for refuge vastly outstrips space available. To know that, behind closed doors, people like Darren are moved to help is humbling.

Discover more at Women’s Aid

A Thankbox party popper icon for a celebration group card Go ahead - make their day

Celebrating good people in life is so easy with a Thankbox. One click and you're on the way to spreading love and smiles for a special person.

Be More Chris

Can you brighten someone's day and spread a smile? If someone deserving is retiring, has a new job, getting married, off to have a baby, has a birthday, an anniversary (work or personal), or any other reason that is worthy of a celebration then create a Thankbox - it takes seconds.

Invite colleagues, family and friends to contribute - personal messages, videos, photos, Gifs and online gift collection - and let them feel appreciated and special. A Thankbox online group greeting card is guaranteed to brighten their day, whatever the reason.

Every Thankbox is a small act of kindness for our planet.

Like Felix Böck we believe every small action matters. When you send a Thankbox you show our wonderful planet a little love...

🌲 A tree is planted for every 10 Thankboxes sold

🔋 100% of our electricity consumption is 100% green generated

💻 As a modern, distributed organisation we've no wasteful offices, travel or infrastructure

😊 As a virtual card there's no card, no paper, no delivery miles, no waste

🌟 We're rated 4.9/5.0 on Capterra and 97% ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐on Trustpilot


Cover Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels | Chris Buckler courtesy Aldi.