I found this and loved it so much it got me a little teary and I'm SUCH a cry baby (ask my children, they will tell you...NOT). But oh wonder. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
From the March 13, 2009 Chicago Tribune:
Purdue ‘compliment guys’ can’t give enough of a good thing
Nice guys on campus spread kind words to weary passersby
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Along a central walkway on Purdue University’s campus, two students are on a crusade to make people happy.
To a passing guy dressed in Purdue sweats they say, “Love your school spirit.”
To the woman carrying the trendy black bag: “Very nice purse.” “It’s very large.”
And for the student who ran past them in knee-high leather boots: “I like your hustle.” “I like your boots, too.”
Tired of people being so down in the dumps amid the worst economy in decades, sophomores Cameron Brown and Brett Westcott—better known as the “Compliment Guys”—have taken it upon themselves to cheer up the campus.
From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday, they stand outside the chemistry building in the shadow of the university’s Bell Tower with their “Free Compliments” sign. They’re there in the rain. In the snow. And this week when the windchill made it feel like 10 degrees.
They come across as fashion commentators, stand-up comedians and guys you’d invite to your keg party.
“People ask us if we are part of a frat or if it’s a psychology experiment,” Brown said. “We are here for no other reason than we like to give compliments.”
At a time when students are struggling to afford tuition, graduating seniors can’t get jobs, and organic chemistry exams are as unpleasant as ever, it seems almost unbelievable that Brown and Westcott could be genuinely upbeat. They’ve been asked, skeptically, over and over, why they’re doing it.
One professor thinks they’re there to get dates. They insist that they’re not, and that they both have girlfriends. “She has the most beautiful curly hair I have ever seen,” Brown said about his girlfriend. “Seriously. I love her curly hair.”
Westcott, who was voted “Most Outgoing” in his high school senior class, had the idea in September and gave out compliments on his own for a week. He then asked Brown to join him. Brown has no history of congeniality awards but says he’s influenced by his gregarious mother.
“I honestly can’t tell you what drove me to give people free compliments,” said Westcott, 19, a civil engineering student from southwest suburban Plainfield. “Just overall, making people’s day is really satisfying. … Not enough people do nice things anymore.”
The duo fire off the compliments so quickly that an attempt to count a minute’s worth was unsuccessful. There were at least 40. They liked headphones. Bikes. Gloves, earmuffs and scarves. A floral backpack. And even a lanyard.
If a tour group walks by, they try to comment on everyone in the crowd. On Wednesday, they told a professor to enjoy his coffee, thanked the groundskeepers for their hard work and prodded someone eating an apple to “stay nutritious.”
They personalize the comments as much as possible. Instead of saying someone has a nice coat, for example, they’ll point out the color or the way it matches with pants. “I like your red coat,” Westcott said to a woman listening to her iPod. She turned and laughed, which only gave the guys more fodder. “Very nice smile,” said Brown, who’s from Toledo. Three women leaving biology lab purposely took a path past the guys. “I like your curly hair. Great smile. I like your glasses,” the guys said, pointing to each of the women.
“These guys are great. Everybody knows them,” said freshman Maureen Campion, who has the curly hair. “People talk about them all the time. It’s like, ‘Have you met the compliment guys?’ ”
“It’s the highlight of my Wednesday,” said Emma Marr, the student with the nice smile. “Last week, they told me I looked very businesslike,” said Meghan Costello, who this week got props for her glasses.
Freshman Josiah Maas got two compliments—on his work boots and a straggly goatee that Brown commented was “coming in nicely.”
“I’m working on it,” Maas shouted back.
“I wanted to come by here today because I wasn’t wearing anything I thought was so cool. I was wondering what they would come up with,” Maas said.
Provost Randy Woodson, on his way from one meeting to another, got a thumbs-up on his blue-and-gold tie.
“It’s always ‘your jacket looks good,’ ‘your tie looks good,’ ‘nice smile,’ ” Woodson said. “I don’t think they know who I am when they compliment me.” (They didn’t.)
In return for their remarks, the guys get waves, thumbs-ups, high-fives, thank-yous and nice comments about their hoodies. They’ve also gotten the finger and nasty looks. “Are you twins?” an older woman asked Wednesday. They laughed and shouted back that they weren’t. “Well, you’re sure nice looking,” she said.
Toward the end of the two hours, a copy center employee brought the students hot chocolate with marshmallows.
“They are doing a great job of lifting people’s spirits,” said Kendra Crace.
The guys, of course, responded with a compliment. “This is the best hot cocoa I have ever had.”