Albany State cash mob makes a big difference


Action truly does speak louder than words.

That’s an important thing to remember these days when it seems the public discourse is based on sheer volume, not substance. It does not follow that the louder the voice, the sounder the argument.

Last week, students from Albany State University demonstrated that following up words and thoughts with positive action can have a measurable, constructive effect. On Tuesday, between 75 ASU students, staff and faculty showed what can be done when citizens see a need, set a goal and act upon it.

What they did was form a “cash mob,” a play on the flash mob term. But instead of impromptu entertainment, they provided a solid, much needed economic boost for a downtown Albany business, Our Daily Bread.

On Tuesday, they gave the restaurant on North Washington Street all the lunchtime business it could handle.

And then some.

“We were aware that the downtown business district was having challenges,” ASU Assistant Business Professor Maurice Elliard said. “We had heard about all the restaurants closing, so that inspired us to do something to see if we could make a difference.”

Indeed, there have been numerous casualties downtown in recent months. Cafe 230 and the Pizza Shop have closed. Riverfront Bar B Q was on the verge of leaving, but decided to stick it out.

Elliard shared his idea of an en masse visit to Our Daily Bread with his marketing class, and they were eager to see what they could do.

It turns out they did quite a lot. Jason Warren said the flow of students was almost more than he and his small staff could handle. Warren said they had tried to prepare for 150 lunchtime guests, but he guessed the number swelled to 200 before it was over.

And before it was over, Our Daily Bread has experienced its biggest lunch crowd ever.

The cash mob had made its point and, in doing so, made a difference for a locally owned business.

That’s the sort of power that average people have, but too often don’t realize it — a power to help fellow citizens as we all struggle through life. It was an inspiring sight and the students, faculty and staffers of ASU deserve a great deal of credit for not only attempting to have a positive effect, but accomplishing that goal.

They deserve the community’s applause for their success with this project.

And we hope other groups and organizations will take note and emulate ASU’s cash mob.

After all, nothing tops off a good meal like the warm feeling you get from doing good.