I love the whole idea of doing well by doing good. Hunter Arnold at Make More of Your Job has a great post on how practicing random acts of kindness can actually be in our own best interests, as well as beneficial to the recipients of that kindness.
He tells the story of having a hotel room mix-up and being given a key to a room that was already occupied. While he was waiting for someone to bring up a key to a new room, the couple invited him in for a cocktail (rather than having him stand in the hall and wait). It turned out that they were both from his hometown.
...How strange that such a chance encounter would introduce me to not one, but two interesting people who I had so many things in common with. Though we didn’t speak for long, I left the room with 2 more connections than I had when I’d checked in. That’s the point of here: performing random acts of kindness can provide you with amazing chances to network and build your professional and social circle.
He points out that often we're so focused and heads down with our lives that we don't look around and notice the amazing people around us. Random acts of kindness give us an opportunity to connect with them.
He sums it up with this...
So the next time you’re in the office (or anywhere else) and you see someone who looks lost, confused or even overburdened, don’t ignore them. Engage them, even ask if there’s any way you might be able to help. If you make this a practice in life, you’ll be amazed how many people you meet and what you might have in common. The more opportunities you give yourself to socialize, the more opportunities you’ll have to make the most of your career, and even your life. By practicing random acts of kindness you’ll be keeping yourself engaged in the most important act of any successful career: networking. Remember: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM