Dmafb screen loader
Hey Buddy! We are processing your request. Please wait...

About Us

As told by founder Don

In 2003, I had recently swapped London for scenic Zurich, hoping to find my footing and gain some international experience within the clinical research field. I knew it would take some time to get used to the different way of life there, but I saw it as learning opportunity

And then one morning, I received in the mail an innocentlooking envelope from my new landlord. Inside was a letter informing me that, effective next month, my rent was being increased by forty percent – something way beyond my means (in a city where affordable living spaces were already in serious shortage). The news felt like an anvil being dropped on my head and had come completely out of nowhere…

Stuck and Out of Luck

I scrambled online to research my rights as a tenant, but from what I could decipher from the legalese, I didn’t appear to have any. I now faced the terrifying prospect of being homeless in a country where I didn’t yet speak the language and didn’t know anyone – not a great start, I know!

To further add to my anxiety, asking for any time off from my demanding job (being a newbie) to view places to rent was a definite no-no. I had no choice but to blindly post requests to online classifieds and other platforms, in the hope of finding someone – anyone – who could visit properties and collect information on my behalf, but no such luck: I didn’t get a single response. Not one. I was stuck, completely at a loss, not knowing what to do, and most nights, I lay awake, worrying. What had possessed me to think I could do this on my own in a foreign country?

It was at this point, while on my homeward commute from the office, I received a surprise call from my old friend Henry, ironically, to ask me how I was adjusting to my new surroundings. Probably expecting to hear a tell-all expose of the Après ski lifestyle, the poor guy instead had to endure 10 minutes of a tell-all emotional rant focused on my dilemma! In a show of compassion, he offered to connect me with a friend of his, also living in Zurich who might, somehow, be able to help. I agreed to it, but to be honest only halfheartedly, I was fast losing my faith in humanity

A Random Act of Kindness

The good news was his friend contacted me within twenty-four hours; the bad news was our work schedules conflicted so we couldn’t meet in person, but he insisted nonetheless that I share my story with him over the phone. Following our conversation, he asked me to email him with any further information I had, assuring me everything would be okay, and promising he would be in contact. I came away from the call not really knowing what next to expect. But then something happened.

Over the following fortnight I went from feeling hopeless to being speechless, as this stranger chose to volunteer his free time to run around the city visiting properties, and follow up with photos, and videos and helpful tips tor a person he barely knew and had never even met – It was bonkers! I tried several times to pay him something for his trouble, but each time he declined and eventually refused to discuss the matter. I kept thinking, “What’s the catch? Why is he helping me?” I just couldn’t figure it out, and you can imagine how guilty I felt whenever I received a rejection from an application, but I couldn’t tell him about them, I didn't have the heart to; I was so afraid he’d realise his efforts had amounted to nothing.

Even with the extraordinary actions of my Good Samaritan, finding accommodation still boiled down to a waiting game. The couple of locations still pending an outcome were not returning my calls, and as time pushed me closer, without pity, to being days away from not knowing where to sleep or keep my stuff, my disappointment turned to numbness. So when my phone rang suddenly, in the middle of what seemed another mad day at work, it wasn’t a cause for excitement.

The number looked unfamiliar, I figured at best it was my landlord calling to arrange when and where I should return their keys. I listened carefully as a pleasant voice on the other end calmly said something that caused my heart to jolt: “We are pleased, to offer you, the apartment” – it was finally over.

At that moment I let out a huge scream, I laughed out loud, I jumped up and down in the office corridor bursting with joy (I’m certain my work mates were thinking the pressure had gotten to me). I dialed my new friend immediately to share the incredible news, and made him promise there and then to being the first guest over to the new place.

On the day I turned the key and unlocked the door for the first time – realizing at that moment I was home – I felt a tidal wave of relief flooding through me. That evening, I sat in the middle of the living room floor surrounded by my life in boxes, silently reflecting on what had happened over the past weeks; I felt myself unravel and couldn’t hold back the tears.

I Help You, You Help Me, Everybody Happy

Not long afterwards, over a much anticipated celebration dinner, I was finally face to face with the Zurich “neighbour” that had made it all possible. It happily felt like we had known each other for years, and for once caught up without talking about the search for accommodation.

I took this moment to say “Thank You” in person, and also ask the question that had been bugging me all these past weeks: “Why would you go to these lengths to help a stranger?” He responded with a smile – knowing I wasn’t going to let it rest until he gave me an answer – and said simply: “It was my choice – the pleasure was all mine, really…and at the end of the day: I help you, you help me, everybody happy”.

Those words sunk in and had a profound effect on me. While I’d considered myself a helpful person, I’d never really been mindful about kindness, its effect on me, or what it meant in the grand scheme of things, but I was determined to do something to change that. From then on, I made the conscious decision to make a habit of looking out for others, and offering a helping hand with whatever I could do.

Admittedly, I didn’t get it right all the time (I’m not perfect, as none of us are) but with a bit of practice over the following months, one small favour at a time – assisting a senior citizen to cross the street, helping someone carrying a heavy load, buying food for people sleeping rough – it became a way of life.

I noticed it took my mind off my own problems, better still I had the pleasure of experiencing the “Thank yous”, the infectious smiles, the handshakes and heartfelt hugs, not to mention the unparalleled feeling of euphoria from witnessing the positive impact my own actions had on other’s lives. The icing on the cake was the frequent times I received good karma in the shape of a favour in return. (I’m chuffed to say I was able to repay my friend’s kindness by giving him a “home away from home” whenever he needed, after he moved away from Zurich.) My friend was right:

"I help you, you help me, everybody happy"

A Call to Adventure

An idea began to form: “What if there was a fun website where anyone, anywhere could easily choose to spread or receive kindness, one favour at a time?” (The name Do Me A Favour Buddy came to mind immediately, since the phrase seemed self-explanatory).

My next thought was, “Oh f–fudge! I don’t know anything about web development!” but luckily for me, I knew Henry had programming experience. So once again the poor guy had to endure my ranting over the phone – this time in the enthusiastic hope of persuading him to join me in bringing the idea to life, especially as he had already played a part in the story of its inception. Happily, he jumped at the chance to do something meaningful, and we started formulating a plan.

The first things to tackle were the specifications and wireframes for the site. For us, this meant long hours brainstorming, studying, writing, and drawing crude mockups and flow charts while juggling our day jobs. Then we pooled our savings to hire coders and designers. People called us crazy (and maybe we were), but we didn’t care. We forged forward with excitement and the belief: “This is it…this is going to be big!”

But in reality, it was the opposite; we’d never undertaken anything of this size and complexity before. So when the freelancers (in whom we had complete dependence on to build the website) suddenly jumped ship with our money to work on more lucrative projects, it immediately extinguished our progress, and depleted our finances.

We were left with an end product riddled with coding errors, making it unstable and essentially unusable: a master class in catastrophe that was frankly heartbreaking, and we only had ourselves to blame. This wore us down emotionally, placing a strain on our friendship, so we had no choice but to take a break and do other things. Unfortunately life got in the way (as it does so often), we lost touch, and the project sat in limbo.

Let’s Do This

Fast forward a few years to a wet Saturday morning in Peckham, South London, where, as fate would have it, Henry and I bumped into each other as we were both out jogging. We used this as the perfect opportunity to hang out, catch up and discuss old times.

As we walked and talked – despite being thoroughly drenched by the miserable British weather – nostalgia inevitably led us to share our frustrations with the project’s failure, however the selfless story that had inspired its mission seemed to dispel the negativity. It seemed bigger than the two of us, but what could we do about it?

It was at that moment we had an epiphany: How could a website whose goal is bringing people together to do meaningful acts of kindness be built without involving acts of kindness from people? We had gone about it all wrong! We had to get back in the game.

And so we did, this time with a new approach: reaching out to our friends for a favour under the guiding principle of “I help you. You help me. Everybody happy”. Our friends invited their friends to help, who in turn invited their friends too, banding together a community of kindhearted, ordinary people, like you and me, from all walks of life across the globe unified by a calling to donate their time and their talent, in building something that really, really mattered.

At last things started falling into place, and something magical happened giving me goose bumps: new friendships planted between strangers collaborating online blossomed into deep meaningful real world relationships, where we helped each other not only with little things that made life easier – like providing a listening ear, sharing a meal together, lending each other stuff – but also transformative acts of kindness and compassion, such as:

  • Working behind-the-scenes to help a young Swiss independent filmmaker with no connections bring his sci-fi short film to the big screen,
  • Putting on a concert (complete with choreographed dancers) at no cost and in record time for a personal assistant who, had secretly dreamed of singing in front of a Zurich audience,
  • Giving a helping hand to package and label a Fair Trade-produced coconut sweetener supporting sustainable rural farming communities in the Philippines,
  • Participation in the life-affirming and humbling experience of on-the-ground humanitarian work with children in Haiti, and
  • Mobilising activists to take part in the powerfully monumental Women’s March for gender equality in London

to name a few. We took those fun memories, beautiful experiences, and life lessons with the phenomenal men and women we now call our friends – and to whom words cannot fully describe how thankful we are – and translated them into functionality you see today in the platform so that one day “I help you, you help me, everybody happy” will become the norm and not the exception.

Thanks for reading this, sincerely,,

Don