Watch The Thank You Project Video:
Making The Thank You Project
The Today Show launched our video “The Thank You Project” on Thanksgiving morning moments before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. As I write this post, The Thank You Project has been viewed more than 150 million times.
It took a lot of time to accomplish the Thank You Project. But I was happy to do it because the medical professionals who saved our son deserve the spotlight of gratitude for their selfless service and outstanding care. They are true heroes! So while no one was watching, we were working on this, not knowing if anybody would ever see it, or if they did, how they’d respond.
The Today Show learned what we were doing and picked up our story. I was surprised and thrilled. Already this was more than I imagined. The Today Show had first rights to the story, which meant we couldn’t share The Thank You Project until the Today Show aired their version on Thanksgiving morning. (You can watch the Today Show segment here if you missed it—they did a fantastic job!)
Like a lot of families, we watched the Today Show segment on TV in our cozy living room right before the parade. I spent the rest of the day eating turkey and spending time with my family like most of North America. Monday rolled around and my life looked the same as always—beautifully ordinary. The video seemed to have come and gone. We were thrilled, and I figured that was the end of it being shared.
Tuesday rolled around, which for me looked like most other days—filled with laundry, changing diapers, making breakfast and sweeping muffin crumbs off the floor. That evening, I was cooking dinner for my family when I got a call from a friend that ABC News, Perez Hilton and The San Francisco Globe had all posted our story.
My brain did not have a category for this. As I was stirring rice in my kitchen, millions of people were watching my life edited into a five minute story, and they were touched and crying. It didn't seem to add up.
But this is what makes it so beautiful. My everyday looks the same as it did before anyone saw The Thank You Project. The same is true for the doctors and nurses in the video. I was just one person offering a brief affirmation in their busy day by going to say thank you. Then they were back to the daily grind, where for them, being a hero looks and feels rather ordinary.
We weren’t looking for recognition when we decided to share The Thank You Project. We simply wanted to encourage the doctors and nurses who had such a positive impact on our family. The 150 million+ views have been an unexpected byproduct.
We’re amazed at what’s come from all of this: One med student wrote me and said she was ready to drop out of med school but after watching our video she was invigorated and is pressing on to pursue her goal of becoming a doctor. Many other medical professionals have written and shared that seeing this has given them hope by reminding them that what they do really does matter.
This, I think, is why gratitude going viral matters. For some, going viral is an end in itself. But what if, instead, the “end goal” of The Thank You Project buzz is a new awareness of gratitude?
Nearly every major U.S. news source has featured our story across the globe in more than 100 countries. I find myself thinking, “Now what?”
So here is my idea and my invitation for you: Let’s work together to make saying, “Thank You” go viral!
Here’s how we can do it:
Find a person that has made a difference in your life. Grab your phone and film your “thank you.” When you post your short video on Facebook or Instagram, challenge your friends to do the same, and use the hashtag #thankyouproject. The Thank You Project will continue to grow together with each post!
There is so much wrong in the world and it’s so easy to point out the problems. How much better would the world be if we all spent a little more time focusing on what’s right instead of what’s wrong? Let’s take the time to notice when people are doing things well by saying “thank you.”
The Thank You Project was never about me. This is about others, so please take it, share it and ride this wave with us. There’s no shortage of everyday heroes out there—so let them know what they mean to you. How many people can we thank together?
Let’s go viral together by saying “thank you!”
Ready. Set. Go!