This Week in Kindness – February 19

Back in 2012, I did a bike ride project called 500 Kindnesses whose stated purpose was to encourage people to perform acts of kindness as “pledges” in the same way one pledges money for a charity bike ride. The hope was to get more people to be kinder.

I’m not sure if that worked, but what did happen is in the course of a year I saw notifications of hundreds of acts of kindness being done. Friends also sent me kindness-themed news story and aftter a little over a year an amazing thing happened. My attitude about and hopefulness for the world changed massively for the better. How could it not? Look at all the good things that were happening?

News-wise we’re in a pretty dark time and there is no doubt that there are some really bad things happening all over. There’s no need for me to share this – the media – both mainstream and social – have this thoroughly covered. But there is still good news happening and people around the world are still doing good things. I am asking my readers to anonymously share when they do good things, see someone else doing them or are the recipient of an act of kindness. At the end of each week I’ll share what I received along with any related news articles. May it give you some hope for the future. It definitely does for me:

The first one comes from Eastern Ontario.

“I helped an elderly woman carry out an armful of coffees and snacks to her car. She not only walked with trouble but had a cane to boot. She said her husband couldn’t walk far so she volunteered to pick up the coffees and she had a wooden leg too. Not sure whether she was kidding but I helped her none-the-less.”

Meanwhile, out in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada someone shared this:

“The woman in front of me at the grocery store ask the cashier not to fill the bags too full because she has back problems and I wouldn’t be able to lift them into her van. I asked her if I could load them for her and she was very appreciative.”

And in the western US, in New Mexico – the last place we all lived before moving to Canada, someone shared this:

I spent the weekend caretaking my elderly mother (as I do every weekend) which requires cooking, packing and driving to another town where she lives. At the end of the weekend I sat with my husband for a 4 hour antibody transfusion for cancer related immune deficiency. Caring for others is exhausting, I’m not going to lie. But where would they be without us?

These sorts of things may seem small and simple, and when we’re healthy and able, they are. At the same thing, they can make a difference in someone’s day – not just from the help itself but from the knowledge that a stranger noticed they needed help and thought of them.

This one came in from Connecticut, in the United States:

“Our town has purchased a run down rooming house, source of much drug dealing and other crime. They are finding appropriate housing for the few actual paying tenants such as disabled veterans. They are going to rehab it and rent it out again to screened tenants. A great solution to an ongoing drain on town resources.”

As a Toronto resident, this makes me really happy and encouraged. At the moment we’re dealing with a housing crisis with many unhoused people. Seeing this gives me hope that in the next few years – especially with a new mayor, we may also start taking more strides like this.

And from another town in British Columbia, a reader shared this:

I am a notoriously courteous driver
I always let people in that are trying to make a lane change &
I always wave thank you to the people that let me into their lane

This is a great one – as a cyclist I really appreciate this one as courteous drivers truly make my day. At the same time I know we all have opinions about many drivers and notice all the bad things they’re doing. (Our brains are literally wired to do this – in great part for our protection.) We feel the anger about the person who cut us off for hours afterward. I can still remember some things drivers did to make me angry years later. But the fact is that many drivers are courteous and pay close attention. They’re easy to forget, though, as what’s memorable about someone who used their turn signal or yielded the right of way?

I admit as a driver I also really like being courteous. Part of it is empathy – I give cyclists loads of space because I know how it feels to be in their shoes. But sometimes it just feels good to be nice and have that be noticed. Am I alone in getting a little happy thrill from having a truck driver flash their lights ‘thanks’ after flashing your lights to them to let them know they were well clear of your front bumper and you were ready for them to move in front of you?

There’s also been a few great stories in the news this week:

A Toronto chef was violently mugged and weeks later he had an (unrelated) heart attack. The support he received from those around him made him want to feed the city – and so he did.

There was a fire at a doggie day care. Someone realized the dogs were in trouble and just started rescuing dogs – soon others chipped in and in the end all 115 dogs were saved. The bystander who took action said: “You know that Mister Rogers’ saying, ‘Look for the helpers?’ That’s how I felt. I didn’t want to be the guy standing around watching. I wanted to be a helper.”

The governor of Pennsylvania just blocked the death penalty there, saying that there won’t be any executions during his term and that the death penalty should be repealed there.

And one more story that is so good that even though I can’t find the link I should have saved, I wanted to tell you. In the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto a woman is using donated food to create meals in a food truck to feed as many people as she can. Because she doesn’t know what’s being donated until it’s received, she calls it “MasterChef Parkdale” as every time it’s a new challenge to make something delicious from what’s there.

What acts of kindness or good news stories do you know about? Share them below!

Fill in the form below:

Photo via Reddit – original photographer uncredited.

2 thoughts on “This Week in Kindness – February 19

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.