American Bear and Guerilla Goodness are collaborating to bring you Kindness Captured: A Day of Bravery and Kindness in Syracuse, Richmond, New York City and Dallas. (This link leads you to the Syracuse page.)
All around the city we will be placing Kindness Kits — complete with a draw your own mission envelope, the props you need to complete the missions, instructions, and a disposable camera to document your adventure.
You show up, with a friend or two in tow, follow the directions and have an amazing time.
All you need to bring is $5 (some of the missions require a bit of change), yourself and an adventurous spirit. If you want to show people the amazing things you are doing in real time, we recommend a cell phone or digital camera — disposable photos take some time to develop.
We played a show at Lovejoy’s. The next morning I was hungover, sleep deprived and had 8 dollars to my name. I go to the nearest gas station by our hotel. Grab an energy drink and ask for a pack of smokes. The girl behind the counter is listening to really loud rap, its cool, I like rap. She says “that’ll be 7.50” I pull my money out of my pocket, its only 3 dollars! “Oh no” I think, I must have spent it on tacos, now I’ll be smokeless in Texas. An older woman taps me on the shoulder… “excuse me sir, you dropped this” She hands me my five dollar bill. I’m ecstatic! “Thank you so much!” I say, and hand the cashier the money. The girl replies “Welcome to Austin, hope you enjoy your stay” And I did enjoy my stay, very much. Kind strangers down there.
I was coordinating an event a film festival in town and we had some weird security issues (the director, main actor had a stalker who was going to show up (and did show up) and we were told to keep him out of the theater.
So that happened — quickly, pretty painlessly, but it totally put me on edge.
So about 30 minutes into the film (I was outside because we were having issues with the projector), this man came into the theater.
He said, “Is the event tonight?” and I said, “Yep!” and he said, “Good, because I am supposed to be here.” And I said, “Oh, are you with the film festival? do you know the director?” and he said —- “No. I’m God.” I was taken aback, but asked him to repeat himself which he did adding — “The sign says I should be here.” (The name of the film had God in it).
So he asked to come in, but because of the security breach earlier, I didnt feel comfortable. I felt terrible, because never in my life did I ever want to be prejudice against someone because of “mental illness” — or because they are god.
So I chatted with him, ended up telling him that I couldnt let him in because we had “reached capacity” with seating.
He said, “funny, the guys at the comedy club said the same thing.”
And I almost started to cry.
So I kept talking with him — mostly he talked, and very fast.
Eventually he said, “You know, I’ve spent my whole life listening to other people, and no ever takes the time to listen to me.” My heart broke. So I smiled and said very carefully, “I will listen to you. You wanna tell me your story? Here is my business card. You can call me or email me anytime and we can meet for tea and you can tell me your story.” He took it.
He said, “Whoah, a business card! great!” and then I excused myself.
The weirdest part is the whole time while I made eye contact with him, I never once thought he was crazy. I thought he was an actor, actually. Someone playing a part, someone with a hidden camera, or studying for role. But I simply couldnt tell.
So who knows, maybe this guys really was God. Either way, he has my business card.
Last night while at trivia with my friends a man approached us. First he asked for a cigarette. None of us smoke. Then he asked if we could do him another favor. He said he had just gotten out of prison and he needed someone to put burn lotion on his shoulders. I hesitated. He said, “The threw baby oil on me.” And so I stood up and spend about 2 minutes putting lotion on a strangers burnt and peeling shoulders.
It was a strange experiences. Probably the strangest thing I have ever done for a stranger. But I am glad I did it.
The world’s a scary place, you know? It can be really sad and stressful and negative. I try to counterbalance that. I believe everything in life is energy. If we’re destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there’s got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that. I really want my time here to be positive and productive.
Love isn’t complicated when you follow your heart.
Never mind those who judge you. Stay true to who you are and what you believe. If you feel a reason to hide it- reevaluate.
Talk about everything. For hours, days, weeks. Never assume what someone is feeling- ask them. You might be surprised by the answer.
Be Considerate. My morals are based on the most simple of things we are taught from the time we are a child. Before religion and judgement- The Golden Rule. Do on to others— I believe if there is a God he will respect me for that decision.
Don’t be afraid to take that leap. Falling on your face and getting back up to try again is the most honorable trait in a person I can think of.
Make a stranger smile. Once a day, take the extra minute of your time to make someone smile. I promise you that the smile it puts in your heart will last 1000x longer.
The other day my roommate was at the library studying until 5 in the morning because she had 2 exams and a paper due the next day. I could tell she was really stressed out and about to break down so I decided to buy her her favorite candy, Reeses, and left it on her desk for when she came home along with a note telling her not to stress too much. The next day she thanked me and told me she felt better and less stressed after seeing what I had left her.
Today I ran into a pregnant woman on the street who confided that her mother had died in the hospital today, and her mother’s car was about to be towed and she needed money to buy gas in a container from the gas station to put in the car to drive it to her own home. I walked with this woman to my apartment and would have driven her to the gas station and back if I had a car. I can only hope she was able to move the car in time.
This was a well-to-do woman who needed some help — I’m very glad I was able to help a little, but it’s also an important reminder that we’re conditioned to help people that are similar to us, especially socioeconomically, and part of kindness and change is sharing and giving to anyone and everyone — especially those truly in need. Kindness can’t have boundaries.
Today as I was running something for a customer at work, this nice looking guy who was walking past me goes, “BOO!” in my face and scares me, and I started laughing. He said ‘Sorry if I scared you, I just wanted to see you smile’
Random acts of kindness by strangers are the best. This actually made my day :)
While traveling in Turkey, I frequently ask people for directions. It is very common for someone to actually walk you to your destination or offer to give you a ride there. I’ve also asked for directions on the bus and if the person I asked doesn’t know they pose the question to the entire bus. The funniest situation is when the person doesn’t actually know where the place is or how to get there but they tell you directions anyway. The mentality here is that they don’t want to tell you they don’t know (re: being unkind/unhelpful) so they point you in a direction in hopes that you will find someone else to ask. It takes a village!
I was standing in line at the TOPS grocery store in Dewitt. A gentleman cashier was cashing out an elderly man. Once done, the cashier walked around the end of the counter, picked up the bag of groceries and gently placed them in the elderly man’s arms. He wanted to make sure that the elderly man was able to carry the bag and didn’t get hurt bending over to pick up the bag. I thought it a very caring and thoughtful gesture.