The Origins of the KinD Team.
The Kindness Elves
Sam sat at his desk. The fleeting daylight only lasted an hour today. It didn't take long for the bitter cold to set in. The fire crackled softly across the room doing very little to warm the office space. He studied the papers that covered his desk. Deep worry lines creased around his blue eyes. He'd been working for hours collating the data and inputting it into the machine that sat on the corner. He pulled the crank handle down and scanned the results as they scrolled down like ticker tape growing in a pile beside him. In all of his years at this position, he'd never seen the list grow like this before.
Ping, Sam whirled his chair around to face the map behind him. His eyes searched for the light that had gone from green to red. He sighed, there goes another one. Ping, a second light changed from green to red. Sam found the source, and sadly shook his head. He whirled his chair back around, pressed the buzzer on his desk. "Sally?"
"Call in the Alpha Team," he paused thoughtfully, "and tell them to get here ASAP. This is an emergency." Another ping sounded behind Sam. He looked over his shoulder finding another light that had turned from green to red. "It's worse than an emergency. It's a catastrophe! Get them here NOW!"
"Yes sir, I'm right on it sir!"
Sally pulled the microphone in front of her. She cleared her throat, leaned into the mike and pressed the button. "Attention, Attention," her normally tiny voice blared through the loud speakers through the various workshops. Work stopped and hundreds of little faces turned and faced the loud speakers throughout the factory. "The Chief of Record Keeping would like to see the Alpha Team." She paused, sat up straight then suddenly remembered how panicked Sam had sounded and added, "And you'd better get here in a hurry!" Satisfied that the Alpha Team would hurry along any minute she added, "That is all. Everyone else may return to their normally scheduled duties." She pushed the microphone to its normal resting place and waited for the Alpha Team to show up.
Within seconds members of the Alpha Team started to appear at Sam's office. Each time the door opened, Sally stood and welcomed the latest arrival. The bitter cold wind and snow didn't chill the warmth of her smile or her personal greeting for each team member. She helped every one with their winter wear, hanging up coats and scarves, and offering hot cocoa and cookies to knock the chill off from their unexpected call into the office.
Sam opened his office door as the last member entered the office. "Welcome, welcome. Please come in. We've quite a lot to do and not much time to get it done." He stepped back holding the door open while the Alpha Team walked into the hub of the Records Keeping Department. Sam stoked the fire and added a log to the blaze. "I'm sorry I had to call you hear on such short notice. I do appreciate you all dropping everything and getting here so quickly."
Ping. Sam turned to face the map. He found the new red light. He threw his hands up. He blew out a frustrated sigh, "That makes thirty so far today!"
"Thirty?" Gertrude gulped. "You've got to be kidding. Thirty?"
The rest of the group whispered among themselves. They couldn't believe it either.
Sam turned back and entered more information into his machine. He pulled the handle and read the newest results. "This has to stop! It just can't keep going like this!" He looked at the team assembled on the other side of his desk. "We've got to get a handle on this crisis right now!"
Members of the Alpha Team stared at the board, pointing as they realized how many red lights were blinking. The initial shock and sadness grew as each member realized how grave this situation was.
"Do any of you have any suggestions?" Another ping went off behind him. All of the team members stared at the board, while Sam's head dropped. He stared at his desk sadly shaking his head. He looked up with a fire in his eye, "I want a solution to take to the boss for his approval, and I want it yesterday!"
Everyone nodded, this situation was dire. The team huddled around the fire place. Ideas flew right and left as the team members put their heads together. Some of the ideas were simply outrageous and some were simply too dangerous. Some were way too complex and others too expensive, but everyone added something to the growing list of ideas.
Sam sat at the head of the table and called the team over. "Well, there's been more movement from The Good List to The Naughty List. Are you any closer to a plan?"
Gertrude stood looking disappointed and a little ashamed. "Sir, we can't seem to come to an agreement for the best course of action. Any actions we undertake could have a ripple effect." She paused briefly, "That could lead to our discovery, which would be an even worse disaster." Gert sat down folding her hands in her lap refusing to look up at Sam.
A soft knock at Sam's door broke the silence. Sam didn't answer. His heart was breaking for all the little children across the globe.
"Sir?" Sally's head peeked in around the edge of the door. "You've all been in here for hours. I thought you might be a little hungry."
She pushed the door open and brought in a cart full of sandwiches for her boss and the team. She stopped at each place at the table unfolding a placemat and napkin. Then she placed a beautifully wrapped sandwich with a handwritten note attached with a pretty bow and a bright red apple in front of each elf. Sally poured each elf a drink. She looked at her boss, "Well sir, If there isn't anything else, I'll get back to my work."
The team members looked at their dinner. Each member of the team had their favorite sandwich, each had their favorite drink. They silently read their notes.
'Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.'
Gert read, and cocked her head slightly peeking at her team mates to see if they had the same idea she had. The sparkle returned to their eyes. Smiles started to bloom around the table as the solution to their problem blossomed in their minds.
Irene, the youngest elf at the table stood up and grabbed Sally's hands and started jumping up and down. "Sally, you're a genius!"
Sally didn't have a single clue as to what was going on, but she eagerly joined in the happy dance. It was so much better than all the long faces that she'd walked in on.
Gert joined them jumping up and down, twirling around the room. "You know, Irene, you're right!" She threw her head back laughing and dancing with her fellow elves.
The rest of the team laughed and slapped each other on the back. "That's it! It's really that simple! We'll lead by example! Why didn't we think of that before? With a little Christmas magic, a little observation, some hints here and there... come on guys! Let's get to work."
Sandwiches were pushed out of the way, the Alpha Team got back to work. In no time flat, they had their proposal for Sam to take to the boss. Sam collected all of the information, feeling confident that their plan would work, and headed out into the freezing dark night.
Two blocks past the North Pole, Sam finally reached his destination. He pushed the door bell and listened for the tinkling tune. He shivered and stomped his feet as he waited on the front porch.
Mrs. Claus opened the door, "Sam, what on earth are you doing out this late? The weather outside is really frightful! Come in; come in, before you catch your death!"
Sam entered the warm and welcoming home. Mrs. Claus helped him with his winter wear. "Now Sam, what are you doing here so late? Is there a problem at the factory?"
"No ma'am." Sam's voice quivered, still recovering from the cold. "But, I do need to see Santa. It's a different kind of emergency."
"Oh, I see." Mrs. Claus sighed. "Come along then." She turned and led Sam down the hallway to Santa's den. "Dear, you have company."
Santa looked up from his book. "Sam?"
Santa closed the book and laid it aside.
"I think Sam's still really cold. I'm going to fix you both a snack. Why don't you add a log to the fire?" Mrs. Claus closed the behind her.
He gave her a wink and chuckled. "Yes, my dear, Minnie. I'll do that right now."
Santa reached over and pulled a log from the basket, and tossed it onto the fire.
"Pull up a chair Sam and warm your toes."
The two sat in silence watching the crackling fire grow, while the reason for Sam's visit loomed heavily on his heart.
Santa sat with his elbows on his knees studying his visitor. "You look like you've lost your best friend. Well, spit it out Sam. You didn't come over here just to sit by the fire. What's wrong?"
Sam gripped the folder tightly in his hands. "It's the list sir. The balance is off. We've way too many red lights and getting more every hour."
"Oh." Santa plopped back in his chair. He gazed into the fire and sighed. "Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later." He slowly shook his head, tsking all the while. The sparkle left his eyes and a sense of gloom filled the room. A deep shudder and sigh escaped. "I guess it's the end of the road, Sam."
"But sir," Sam eagerly shoved the folder towards his boss. "We have a plan."
Santa turned and looked at Sam. "What's the point? We're fighting a losing battle here, we have been for years." He sighed and stoked the fire.
"Sir, the Alpha Team is ready to go to work, implementing their ideas immediately. That is, as soon as you give the word." The eagerness in Sam's eyes encouraged the heartbroken old elf to peek into the folder.
Santa sat back, propping his feet up on the hassock. He read each page and stroked his silky, white beard. Every so often a soft hm of contemplation as Santa nodded and looked thoughtfully into the fire. Then he would continue reading and there would be an ah ha moment of realization that would grab Sam's attention.
Sitting on the edge of his chair, Sam chewed nervously on his lip. He couldn't wait for Santa's impression of the Alpha Team's proposal.
Sam knew it would work. He wrung his hands.
He hoped it would work. He sat back in the chair.
He knew in his heart the team would do their best to make sure it worked. He slid back to the edge of the chair and chewed on his lip some more.
They had to try. All would be lost, if they didn't do anything.
Now if only the boss would say the word, before he exploded with all this nervous energy.
Santa closed the folder and laid it in his lap. He closed his eyes and twiddled his thumbs on his belly. He'd twiddle them forward, then pause and nod. Then he'd twiddled them backward. His toes wiggled on the hassock as he considered the teams' plan.
Sam sat in jittery silence waiting for what felt like an eternity. He wanted to clear his throat to remind Santa that he was still in the room, but he didn't want to disturb the elderly elf if he'd nodded off to sleep. What to do? What to do? His nerves were getting the best of him.
"I'll tell you what to do." Santa snapped up in his seat. His feet hit the floor. He leaned forward and the proposal slid to the floor. His eyes twinkled with that spark of magic that all elves recognize. "We're going to implement this plan and we're going to do it today."
"Minnie, get my coat! Please!" Santa yelled.
Minnie opened the den's door with the coats at the ready. "Here you go, Dear. Now you and Sam bundle up. You've got a big job ahead." She helped Santa with his coat and hat and then handed him a basket.
Santa looked at her questioningly, "How...?"
"You'll need a snack for your trip, dear." Minnie winked tapping her forehead. "Now hurry on along, and travel safely. I'll have a hot bath and your breakfast ready for you when get back."
Santa smile broadly, leaned over to whisper in her ear. "One day, I'm going to figure out how you know everything before I do. I'll hurry home, my dear." He gently kissed her on the cheek and waved good bye.
Minnie closed the door, leaned against it, and sighed.
Santa and Sam hurried to the Records Building. Sam held the door as Santa walked in. Sally's jaw dropped seeing the Santa, in person, on such a blustery winter night. She stood up, "Can I get you anything sir, anything at all?"
"Good evening, Sally. You're working mighty late tonight. I hope you remembered to call your parents and tell them you were still here."
"Oh I did sir. I didn't tell them YOU would be here tonight, though."
Santa patted her shoulder, "I think you should go on home now. We'll take care of everything else tonight. Give my regards to your parents."
Sally gathered her coat, but Sam stopped her short.
"Santa, Sally should stay. The plan we came up with," he paused and looked proudly at Sally, "well, it's all because of her."
Sally looked bewildered.
Santa nodded. "Very well then, Sally," he tilted his head, and with a bow and flourish, "after you, my dear." He held the door for Sally, as she walked into the inner room. The Alpha team was waiting. Everyone immediately stood at attention when Santa entered the room.
Gert was first to ask, "Sir, do we have a go?"
"Ho, ho, ho! You most certainly do." Santa's eyes sparkled with anticipation. "This is the first proactive plan we've ever undertaken. I'm so pleased that you're all willing to volunteer. I've decided that you are no longer the Alpha Team. You've earned a new name... You will now be known as the Kind Team. That's capital K, i, n, capital D."
Gert and Irene looked at each other, "The KinD Team?"
"Yep, Kindness in Deeds," Santa chuckled amused with himself. "See how that works out?" He winked, "And you all will be the Kindness Elves. With acts of kindness and gentle reminders of the joy of doing for others, we'll get these red lights turned back to green."
The KinD Team members, the Kindness Elves as they were now called, hip hipped hoorayed, and danced around the room with glee.
Santa walked over to Sally. He stood in front of her, and gently placed his hands on her shoulders. He looked deeply into her eyes. "And you, young lady. I owe my sincerest gratitude to you. In fact we all do."
Sally blushed from the tips of her pointed ears all the way down to her toes. "Me, what did I do?" She looked down at the floor and squirmed under the close scrutiny.
Santa gently placed a finger under her chin and tilted her head back up to face him. "You've done a marvelous thing today, little one, with a simple act of kindness. But, there's one thing I need to know."
"Sir?" she squeaked.
"I would really like for you to be a part of this team. They need a leader, someone to take charge and coordinate with Sam. Will you be the Chief of the Kindness Elves?"
A big smile grew on Sally's face, her eyes sparkled and she nodded vigorous. "I'd love to!"
Santa turned back to the KinD Team, "Well, are you all ready to start your new jobs?"
A joyous shout resounded through Sam's office.
"Let's load up the sleigh with Kindness Elves and get you all delivered. I know you'll all work hard to get these red lights flashing green again! Now hurry along, Mrs. Claus is going to have breakfast ready for me as soon as you're all settled. Sally send the coordinates to me as we fly." Santa waved goodbye as he headed out the door behind all of the former Alpha Team members.
Sam hugged Sally, "We couldn't have done it without you! Are you ready to get started, Miss Kindness Elf Chief?"
Sally nervously looked at her former boss. She bit her lip nervously. Her eyes twinkled. "Let's get it done!" She beamed with pride.
Fifteen young elves sat cross legged staring doe eyed at Nana Sally, Chief of the Kindness Elves, as she told them the story of how the KinD Team came to be, oh so many, many years ago.
"Miss Sally, Miss Sally! I want to be a Kindness Elf." The cheers went around the circle.
Sally laughed, "Oh, I'd be so thrilled to have you all as a part of my team, when you're old enough, that is."
Sally noticed the sparks fading from a couple of the youngsters eyes. "But, you know," she paused, giving that special contemplative look. She rubbed her chin and hm-ed in a thoughtful way. "It takes lots of practice to be members of the KinD Team. I guess you should start practicing today."
"How? How?" the little ones bounced on their bottoms in eager anticipation.
"By doing what the name says - doing acts of Kindness in Deeds, of course."