Every compliment or act of kindness is a small yet significant way to acknowledge an individual’s importance within a community. These gestures are not rewarding only for those being recognized but also for people like Daniel Ahmadizadeh, who show their appreciation.
One night during finals week, what began as studying for organic chemistry evolved into checking Facebook only to find a post from UPenn Compliments.
Ahmadizadeh, a senior business major, was inspired by the post and decided that day, on Dec. 20, 2012, to create the Facebook page Stony Brook Compliments. The site attracted many students upon its creation but according to Ahmadizadeh it was not really a platform for positivity and community building until Zamir Miah.
Miah is a Dunkin Donuts employee who works from 10 p.m. until the early morning. In addition to his positive attitude towards customers, he refuses to accept tips from college students and may add some extra goodies to a student’s order free of charge. His generosity was greatly appreciated by the students he meets who shared their appreciation on Facebook.
Once again Ahmadizadeh was inspired to do more and took the posts a step further. He held an event for Miah. Around 60 students including Stony Brook Compliments creator went to Dunkin Donuts to show their appreciation for Miah giving him hand written letters and $400, which was doubled by Dunkin Donuts management.
The money however, was not and should not be the focus of that evening. “The highlight of the story is this act of kindness made by the students to show appreciation for a man who majority of times has not seen his fair share of recognition,” Ahmadizadeh said.
After experiencing a variety of cultures and living in different countries he acknowledges the array of opportunities one has in America. Ahmadizadeh was born in France but is of an Iranian background.
Although coming to America may have been a struggle for his family he was brought up to make the most of any situation and of any opportunity.
Ahmadizadeh, who is “mind boggled” by the billions of people who lack clean water and basic health care, and the 800 million more who are illiterate, believes that “having the opportunity to change the life of someone else and not doing that I think is a disservice to humanity.”
There was a time when medicine seemed like the only opportunity he had to make an impact. While he is still considering medicine, Ahmadizadeh’s goal is to make a positive impact on as many people as possible.
“A doctor can have an impact on an individual person, subsequently affecting the entire family, but at the same time I think there are some organizations and…people who are able to affect a ton of people via their platform and SB Compliments is a small example of that,” Ahmadizadeh said.
For Ahmadizadeh, what it comes down to is doing things that make others happy. His definition of success has nothing to do with riches or power but rather the ability to be truly happy with everything one does in their lives.
It is an outlook he hopes to impart on others, especially his nine year-old brother Darian.
The 21-year-old does not only want to become a role model to inspire others but also to utilize the experiences of others as a source of inspiration “to make an impact on others on a global scale.” He is co-authoring a book set to come out by the end of this year or early next year. The book “2 Billion under 20” highlights 75 individuals from around the world.
The book title stems from the fact that there are around two billion individuals around the world who are under the age of 20 and each of these individuals have their own story.
Ahmadizadeh, knowing that each individual has their own stories and struggles, was brought up to show appreciation for what he has and to give back to his community. Stony Brook Compliments has opened the door for Ahmadizadeh and a variety of initiatives as it is a platform that embraces positivity throughout the community.
But the page will also make a global impact as they have partnered with various organizations that will expand the Stony Brook Compliments model. Such partnerships include that of non-profit organization Watsi, which believes that healthcare is a basic human right.
Currently Stony Brook Compliments is trying to raise five thousand dollars to donate to the organization. Ahmadizadeh never imagined that the creation of the page would have led to partnerships with organization like Watsi or even to him landing an associates position at a venture capital firm in San Francisco this past summer.
He did not desire recognition as the creator of Stony Brook Compliments when it was made, but rather to be a part of countless selfless acts of kindness towards people throughout the community. This is the reason why Stony Brook Compliments remained anonymous until recently.
Despite everything that has occurred after the creation of the Facebook page he feels that he has a long way to go in order to create, be a part of or inspire the world changing initiatives that can impact people’s lives.