Thanks to Eric Gilbert, this year there were 45 days of Christmas.
Gilbert, a co-founder of Remedium, a health and wellness subscription box company, has set out to complete a good deed a day for 45 days for people in Gainesville, the 32-year-old said. He collects his good deed ideas from people who donate to a 45-day Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the launch of Remedium, which is set to open Jan. 12. He said the good deeds and funding are running from Nov. 22 to Jan. 7.
Gilbert said he has received recommendations, and has performed deeds ranging from helping a stranger buy her husband a suit for Christmas to volunteering at youth groups and animal shelters. His first good deed was driving his mother-in-law to the hospital.
“When it comes to the moment of opening your mouth and saying, ‘Hey, can I help you with this?’ I get a little nervous,” Gilbert said. “I think my heart skips a beat for the second there. But I’m always glad I did.”
On Nov. 24, while in line at Burlington Coat Factory, he and his wife, Carol Gilbert-Orrego, overheard a woman had an item on layaway and offered to pay for her Christmas gift – a new suit – for her husband.
“It turned into a really cool moment,” Gilbert said. “The people at the store were kind of like, ‘Wow! What just happened?’ you know, so it just turned into a whole positive moment together.”
Gilbert met a homeless man named Jim near Southwest 13th Street, who was holding a sign and asking for help. For his fourth good deed, Gilbert offered to help Jim with something, and Jim asked for a ride to Grace Marketplace. The men ended up grabbing lunch together at Taco del Mar, Gilbert said.
“It was neat, not only was it helping him, but it felt more like a personal connection,” Gilbert said. “Rather than just like doing a favor for somebody, it won me a little bit of a friendship for a moment.”
Sarah Wallace, the company’s graphic and web designer, said she was impressed how Gilbert put the company’s mission into practice.
“He wanted a way to show the world he was walking walk, not just talking the talk,” Wallace said.
Gilbert said the purpose of making the good deeds campaign at the same time he was fundraising for his company was to emphasize the values he wants his company to represent.
“Sometimes when you go into business venture there’s a lot of questions and a lot of unknowns,” Gilbert said. “For 45 days we’re going to make a positive difference around our community and that’s going to be a part of our mission right from the start.”
Contact Robert Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Lewis__Robert.