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Monday, May 18,2009

Random acts

by Drew Winter
Although good deeds are usually associated with an individual or a nonprofit, that was not the case last Thursday when Keller Williams Realty held a “day of good deeds” and “paying it forward” where agents filled parking meters, passed out popsicles to children and gave away bikes.

The company's East Lansing branch, which has about 70 agents, conducted the acts of charity around Lansing for its first “Go Red” day, a reference to the company's color.

Keller Williams Broker Kim Bray said the outreach touched over 300 people who received popsicles at Potter Park Zoo, flowers in Old Town, extra time on their parking meters (which is illegal in East Lansing) in Lansing and help loading groceries at Meijer (until security asked them to leave). One agent worked with an Eaton Rapids man to donate 40 used bikes to local children.

Motorists in downtown Lansing, for example, may have found a note on their car or parking meter alerting them that it had been filled by a Keller Williams worker. The note urged recipients of the deed to pay it forward.

The event was in honor of Mark Willis, the company's CEO. All of the corporation's 73,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada were asked to participate.

When asked, locals approved of the action, saying that companies should do good will work more often.

"It's something nice in Michigan when we're all in troubled times," said Elena Berry, an art history senior who was in Old Town Friday, but missed Thursday’s free flowers.

Gerry Brady, director of the Potter Park Zoo, said he allowed employees of the company to hand out popsicles to children at the zoo as long as they checked first with a parent or guardian.

"They said they were here spreading good cheer and they handed me this card that said 'pay it forward.’ I did not know they were with a company,” he said.

Brady said the Potter Park Zoo does not condone free giveaways at the park, and that, had he known they were working for a company, he would not have allowed them to distribute the popsicles.

Brendan Dwyer, who was also in Old Town on Friday, said that the company’s deeds make him feel better about a real estate company, since in the past he's seen realty companies as "invasive when they turn a field into a subdivision."

"Someone's going to think of them in a better light, and it helps people, too," he said.

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