1) Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was stung again. The other monk asked him, “Why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?”

“Because,” the monk replied, “to save it is my nature.”

2) I Heart Zappos — please read this story in full, but here is the main excerpt from it:

When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn’t have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.

When I first read the title, I didn’t have the foggiest. I think Zappos is an online company better known in the US, as I have never heard of them. I love finding stories about companies, or people within companies, who go beyond the procedure and policy and surprise their customers in genuine and thoughtful ways. The best PR, for such companies, is that positive and enthusiastic word-of-mouth. And now I know what “Zappos” is.