Written by Laura L. Watts
You’ve seen them on TV—dressed in blue and capturing the reactions
of real people receiving unexpected assistance. If you’ve ever wondered
if the “helpful” stories of the Helpful Honda guys and gals
are true, the staff at Torrance Memorial can assure you firsthand: They are!
The Southern California Honda Dealers Association has been surprising South
Bay residents with Random Acts of Helpfulness for more than a decade.
Their commitment to help locals hit home last December when the Helpful
Honda team surprised staff members at Torrance Memorial with free goodies
from the Helpful Honda Holiday Treats Truck.
The unexpected visit came at a busy time and brought a great deal of holiday
cheer to hospital staff. The Honda team wanted to recognize the random
acts of kindness the hospital staff show toward patients and guests each day.
“It was really awesome to surprise Torrance Memorial staff with a
special holiday treat,” says Helpful Honda person Sam Brittan, who
was on the team that visited the medical center that day. “They
all work so hard taking care of people day and night, so it was extremely
gratifying to stop by the hospital with the Helpful Honda Treats Truck
and help the people who help others.”
“This is the real deal, not just some advertising campaign,”
confirms Erin Fiorito, director of marketing communications for Torrance
Memorial. “It is a true commitment to providing the local community—and
in this case Torrance Memorial—with a little moment of appreciation.
It was really fun and uplifting to have the Helpful Honda team on campus.
We were honored by the way they cared for those who deliver exceptional
care to our community each day.”
The Random Acts of Helpfulness campaign started in 2007 when an association
of about 50 Honda dealerships based in Southern California launched a
bold experiment. To increase residents’ trust in car dealerships
and at the same time increase sales, they sent staff members into the
community wearing light blue polo shirts—a familiar sight to many
South Bay residents—to do everything from washing customers’
cars to paying parking meters.
In essence, they wanted to connect in an authentic way with the local customers
they serve and not just push car sales. The acts of goodwill as well as
the recipients are basically chosen at random by the team, thus the name
of the campaign.
Their TV commercials show the Helpful Honda team at work in the community.
Then with the phrase “and we can help you too,” the ads gently
transition to telling viewers how Honda can help them with their next
For the past 12 years the SoCal Honda Dealers have visited more than 10,000
locations to assist residents with needed items or simply an unexpected
treat—gestures like pumping and paying for drivers’ gas, distributing
reusable bags to shoppers at grocery stores, giving free ice cream on
National Ice Cream Day and handing out roses on Valentine’s Day.
The Guys and Gals in Blue are typically out in full force during the holiday
season, making it merrier for SoCal’s less fortunate. In addition
to treating the Torrance Memorial staff, last December the Helpful Honda
team also visited the Boys & Girls Club in Carson to surprise the
kids with holiday treats; offered drivers in Hawthorne and Lomita free
gas at the pumps; and donated thousands of toys and non-perishable food
items to local charity organizations and food banks.
Honda’s goodwill to the local community is not a new concept for
Torrance Memorial. Each year for the past 32 years American Honda has
held its “Evening Under the Stars” gourmet food and wine festival
in support of a worthy cause. The evening includes a live auction and
top-flight entertainment. Honda has donated proceeds from the event to
Torrance Memorial for more than a decade.
For more about the Southern California Honda Dealers, check them out at
facebook.com/socalhondadealers. If you or someone you know needs an even bigger helpful hand from Honda’s
Random Acts of Helpfulness team, go to
Other Helpful Honda Random Acts over the past year:
- Surprised Torrance families with free pumpkins for Halloween
- Surprised firefighters in Carson with lunch
- Assisted college students moving into Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson,
including giving laundry bags to new students
- Helpful Honda Ice Cream truck helped Torrance/Gardena residents cool down
with free ice cream
- Hosted a pop-up barbershop in Torrance and surprised dads with a free haircut
or shave in honor of Father’s Day
- Treated Gardena, Carson and Wilmington residents to free roses for Valentine’s Day
- Visited Torrance, Gardena and Carson grocery stores to help residents carry
and load large groceries
- Visited area parks to pick up litter and treat park-goers/hikers to free water
- Gifted SoCal teachers with school supplies in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week