It all started with a laptop:

The prequel to Meta’s “They Came From All Over” documentary.


It all started with a laptop:

We love a good story — especially a heartwarming one. The kind of story that reflects why we do the work we do — to impact the lives of others—and demonstrates that one small act of kindness can make a big difference. This is that kind of good story. 

This year, Academy Award-winning director Rayka Zehtabchi, in association with Meta, released the documentary film "They Came from All Over," featuring grocery store owner Tom Mulholland. In December 2021, the fourth-generation owner and operator of Mulholland Grocery nearly lost his business after a devastating fire left his store in ruins. Tom turned to Meta's Boost Leaders Network for support, and this online community of small business owners rallied together for Tom when he needed them the most.  

But before the film or the fire, Tom attended a virtual Meta event, Meta Boost: Gather Virtual, where he had brief yet meaningful interactions with a few of our OBE teammates, ones which may (or may not) have been the catalyst for the film that followed.

During the event, Tom experienced a hardware problem with his computer — leaving him unable to access the virtual event platform. Meta reached out to OBE about Tom’s challenge (as we were producing the virtual event), and we all agreed—we had to help. When we heard about Tom’s story and how much he meant to Meta’s small business (SMB) community, OBE’s technology team immediately sprang into action. We sourced a laptop, got it pre-provisioned, and overnighted it to Tom Mulholland in time for the next day’s virtual workshop. But our role didn’t stop there — our team members, who were in a different time zone than Tom, were up before sunrise to hop on a call and walk Tom through all the necessary steps to ensure he had access to Meta’s small-business content and community with his new machine. 

Why did we do all this? Well, two reasons. First, Tom had already made an impression on both the OBE and Meta teams by being such an authentic and passionate person. But most importantly, we saw an opportunity to help.  

Tom was so appreciative he penned a handwritten thank you letter to our team and gushed about the effort Meta and OBE made throughout the virtual event. Tom's kindness and enthusiasm have only grown since that moment, and he continues to attract and inspire those same qualities in others. 

Most recently, Tom was a keynote speaker at Meta Boost Gather in Washington D.C., spreading his message of community and resilience to a broader audience. Tom has become a key figure in the Meta SMB community — which landed his personal story and experience documented in “They Came From All Over”. We also had the honor of working alongside Meta to produce the private screening of the documentary in Iowa, Tom’s home state. 

We feel honored to have played a small role in Tom Mulholland’s story — one that started with a little kindness from a big brand and extra effort from a team with a laptop. We couldn’t be prouder of how our team members embodied the OBE values we hold near and dear to our hearts, and we’re glad that people like Tom are out there caring for their communities. So, if you’re at one of our experiences and need help, let us know. We’ll be there ready to lend a hand. 

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