Behind the scenes of the Delivering Happiness Bus Tour

Last week the Delivering Happiness bus descended on Omaha, Nebraska. It was the second time that Tony Hsieh along with members of the Zappos and Delivering Happiness team were in our city, the first being Hsieh’s talk at Big Omaha 2010.

When I heard that Hsieh was planning a bus tour across America on behalf of the release of Delivering Happiness, which is now a New York Times…

The Delivering Happiness bus takes a rest stop at Kearney’s Great Platte River Road Archway on their way to Omaha. Photo by Ryan Walker of the Delivering Happiness team.

Last week the Delivering Happiness bus descended on Omaha, Nebraska. It was the second time that Tony Hsieh along with members of the Zappos and Delivering Happiness team were in our city, the first being Hsieh’s talk at Big Omaha 2010.

When I heard that Hsieh was planning a bus tour across America on behalf of the release of Delivering Happiness, which is now a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, I connected with Holly McNamara to let her know we’d love to host them while they made their journey along Interstate 80.

The details were worked out and the date was set, Omaha would host the team, and bus, on August 31st and September 1st!

We were thrilled to be included as one of the cities on the 20-city tour as visits like this help to build and solidify our city and region as one that support authors and movements that originate outside of the Midwest.

Once the team rested from the event in Boulder the day before, we set off on a day filled with visits to deliver happiness. The first stop was the AIM Institute where the entire staff assembled in the lobby of the building to greet and wake the Delivering Happiness team with an enormous welcome.

Photo left: Kathleen Berg of the AIM Institute preparing to deliver the “Welcome to Omaha” basket to the Delivering Happiness team. Photo by Ryan Walker of the Delivering Happiness team.

After visiting with the AIM team, the Delivering Happiness crew joined Dusty and I at the Joslyn Sculpture Garden to hear our thoughts about what brings us happiness and learn more about Silicon Prairie News and Big Omaha.

Next up was a Children’s Hospital visit, which was coordinated by hospital staff Rob Harding and Cherie Lytle. The visit was a bit overwhelming and eye-opening for all of us, and we left encouraged by the spirit and energy from those kids, smaller than us, but with a bigger heart and enthusiasm for life than many of us.

Laura Lombardi of the Delivering Happiness team sharing the joy with little Issac. Photo by Ryan Walker of the Delivering Happiness team.

Omaha Steaks was the next stop on the visit. There we were accompanied by Omaha Steaks’ Bob Bezousek, vice president of production, Beth Weiss, corporate communications director, and Dave Link, social media coordinator. Touring the production floor was informative and interesting and Omaha Steaks sent the Delivering Happiness team on their way bearing great beef jerky and more for their travels ahead.

Photo left: The Delivering Happiness team suited up and ready to go. Photo by Ryan Walker of the Delivering Happiness team.

The day wrapped up with the Delivering Happiness Happy Hour at Loft 610 where over 75 people from the community came out to mix and mingle with the Delivering Happiness team. Special thanks to Mayor Jim Suttle who crafted an official proclamation declaring August 31st “Tony Hsieh Day” in Omaha.

Mayor Jim Suttle talks with Holly McNamara and Joey Vanas of the Delivering Happiness Tour. Photo by Ryan Walker of the Delivering Happiness team.

On Wednesday morning, over 200 people gathered at Marcus Theatres’ Midtown Cinema to hear Hsieh give his “Delivering Happiness” presentation and talk more about the culture at Zappos that inspired the book. I encourage you to read great writeups about Hsieh’s talk by Ross Boettcher of the Omaha World Herald, Zappos.com CEO promotes culture, and Robert Murphy of RamHatter.com, Delivering Happiness Bus Tour.

All in all the many stops along the way on Tuesday and Hsieh’s presentation on Wednesday morning helped to raise the spirit of many of those that were involved.

Another special thanks to the Delivering Happiness team for coming in to our city. We hope you enjoyed your time here, and return again very soon!