lessons in kindness…

September 20, 2007

Lessons in kindness can be found in the most unexpected places. The teachers are grocery store clerks, baristas and small children. The classrooms are elevators, doctor’s office waiting rooms and even the nascar races. Every time I think I know when or where she will show up, she always surprises me.

I can’t even tell you the boy’s name. We were passing out coupons for big televisions, bonded by hyper materialism and the American dream. How can any person live in this country with out a 52” HD TV?

I don’t even know how we got into the work of kindness, the stream of conversation went from mba’s to his marketing job to job satisfaction….ah yes, job satisfaction which lead to what we really want to do with our lives. His story began…

This guy and a friend started up a non-profit while in college for inner city kids. He started volunteering for the United Way but quickly realized he wanted have a more direct impact. The United Way is all well and good but his ideas were big, he needed to try them out. Ideas like taking 65 kids to MEET Tiger Woods, hauling kids to basketball games and the local jail. The message being you can be the golf pro not just the caddy, you can manage the dome, not just clean it, you can be the police officer, not the thug locked up.

This was mixed with their own curriculum these guys wrote, movie nights at the crappy community center in the hood, pick-up games and help with homework. The pair organized quickly and filed the myriad of papers that is required for the government to deem you legit. They relentlessly invited the local community to give and sucked the non-profit angle dry. All while working (traveling the country at nascar races with a marketing team) and finishing up his mba. He was a clean cut, cute, together African American young man living his own best dream.

I kinda laughed at the universe, she paired us together. Who would expect such a kindness expert to be passing out coupons next to the girl who is only working as a promotional model to pay for the u-pic sunflowers that she is dying to deliver as part of her larger guerilla kindness scheme? I peppered him with questions, never imagining that maybe I could start my own non-profit. Maybe someone will give me money to spread kindness in the world. Is that dream too big, too far from my reach? He made it seem like such a possibility, almost an everyday ordinary option.

I had a feeling he wasn’t ordinary, he was quite amazing actually. But this is what kindness is, it is extraordinary in every form on every level. From delivering hand-picked sunflowers to meeting tiger woods to paying someone’s toll… to the lesson’s learned by the boy whose name I’ll never know.

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