Originally appeared in Dallas Morning News
National Random Acts of Kindness Day may fall just once each year (February 17), but the Helpful Honda Guys perform random acts of helpfulness many more times per year — and they haven’t let the pandemic slow them down. Throughout 2020 and now into 2021, the group created to show that car dealers aren’t the worst has shown that car dealers can be the best.
Devin Ellis is among the 10 community ambassadors employed by the North Texas Honda Dealers to spread delight and do good deeds in D-FW. He’s been on the team since its October 2017 launch as part of a campaign created by Honda to counter unfavorable perceptions of car salesmen (among the most hated professions according to pretty much every survey ever conducted on the subject). In his time working with the Helpful Honda Guys — which includes women — he’s done hundreds of simple acts of helpfulness, such as giving out sunscreen and water at a park, assisting at pet adoptions, surprising teachers with classroom supplies, and delivering coffee and hot chocolate to parents with children in the hospital.
Ellis’ role as a community supporter became even more important when COVID hit. “Suddenly there was a concentrated need for help,” says Lauren Kay, a spokesperson for North Texas Honda Dealers. It was around that time that the Helpful Honda Guys stumbled upon VOMO, a McKinney-based volunteer management platform, and found it “a useful tool for finding volunteer opportunities while being safe,” Kay says.
Through VOMO, Ellis and the rest of the team have donated many hours to Grace Bridge Resale, Aunt Bette’s Community Pantry, Brother Bill’s Helping Hand, Mission Oak Cliff, Crossroads Community Services and many others, sorting donations and working drive-thru distributions. “It feels really good to support these great organizations, and the people on the other side appreciate it as well. That’s been really moving for me,” Ellis says.
“It was a horrible time for everybody,” Kay says about 2020, “and so much help was needed. The message of helpfulness was more important than ever, and we wanted to dedicate as much time as possible to the people who needed it most.”
Among those needing a little boost were — and still are — people working on the front lines of the pandemic. Ellis says that providing free gas for health care workers has been his favorite experience so far. “They were going through such challenging times, and to be able to post up near hospitals and show an appreciation for what they were doing felt good,” he says.
“I feel grateful and humble and also thankful that I am able to be in a position to support organizations and individuals that are doing what they are doing. Helpful Honda people are just trying to plug in to the good work that’s already happening in the community and amplify that effort.”
Do you need a little help or know someone who does? Let North Texas Honda Dealers know at ntxhondadealers.com/help.