Tomorrow, February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. And this year it couldn't come at a better time. Occurring just days after the horrific and senseless shooting of 17 students at a Florida high school, Saturday will be the perfect time to offer the world a little comfort and a little kindness. Everyone has the potential to change the world. And tomorrow is a great time to become a RAKtivist (Random Acts of Kindness activist). RAKtivists do little things for others without the expectation of any reward or acknowledgement. They don't do big things, necessarily, but in the eyes of the recipients these acts of kindness are huge. Often the smile or hug you impulsively give to another can alter the course of events in their life. There's even a website dedicated to the idea that little acts of kindness can help make the world a whole lot nicer. www.randomactsofkindness.org.
Listed below are just a few of the many events, acts, and groups dedicated to random acts of kindness.
- The Jewish concept of a mitzvah is used colloquially to mean a good deed or an act of kindness. Judaism teaches that "the world is built on kindness". Kabbalistic teaching sees kindness as emerging from the first of seven Divine emotional attributes; to be effective kindness must be balanced and considered, while mercy is also for the undeserving. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson told reporters that to bring the Moshiach sooner, people should "add in acts of goodness and kindness".
- Caffè sospeso is a tradition in the working-class cafés of Naples where a person who has experienced good luck financially pays for two coffees, but receives and consumes only one, the second being left until a person enquires later whether a sospeso is available.
- In 1981, NYCPD (New York City Police Officer William Fox talked down a suicidal runaway teenager, 17 year old Michael Buchanan, and later adopted him.
- In 1984, Dobbs Ferry, New York Police Officer Robert Cunningham, split a winning lottery ticket with Sal's Pizzeria waitress Phyllis Penzo, netting Phyllis approx. $3M. A 1994 romantic comedy, "It Could Happen to You" starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda was made based on this event but moving the movie's location to New York City.
- In 2006, the Free Hugs Campaign was made popular by a music video on YouTube.
- An Australian TV-show called Random Acts of Kindness, on Channel 9, shows hosts Karl Stefanovic, Scott Cam and Simmone Jade Mackinnon giving gifts to people they identify as heroes.
- HelpOthers.org is the home of Smile Cards and a portal of kindness stories, ideas, and online groups. It allows people to send random notes of kindness to others.
- 2012: The Newton Project attempted to quantify the benefits of the Random Act of Kindness concept in order to motivate people to perform additional acts of kindness.
- 14 November 2012 an NYCPD officer, Lawrence DePrimo, was photographed giving socks and a pair of boots he had purchased for a bare-footed homeless man. The photograph later went viral.
- Started in February 2014, the Feed the Deed campaign has inspired over 10,000 random acts of kindness around the world.
- A Chicago man, Ryan Garcia, gained a significant following after doing a different random act of kindness each day of the year in 2012. His 366 random acts have spun off into State of Kind, a mission to do an act of kindness in all 50 states in order to raise awareness for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
Speaking of frogs, let's not forget the critters! Random acts of kindness can be extended to your animal friends, as well. Adopt a homeless animal, go to the park and feed the squirrels, offer water to a thirty wild animal. Winter is a tough time for them and they need your kindness now, more than ever! And the planet needs your kindness, too! Conserve resources, plant a tree, donate to an environmental group...Be kind to your Mother!
"Remember, there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." ~ Scott Adams
Diana, Princess of Wales once said, "Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
Whatever you do this weekend, please be sure to include at least one random act of kindness. You'll be helping to heal a world that can use all the kindness it can get. I invite you all back here on Monday. Until then, I wish you all