Saturday, September 1, 2007

random acts of kindness day

One thing every pilgrim and traveller has experienced is the random act of kindness. The unostentatious, open-hearted gesture that comes out of the blue and leaves us speechless with gratitude. A stranger goes out of his way to set us on the right road. A farmer offers us a handful of chestnuts or a cluster of grapes. A bartender pours us a drink on the house. Another pilgrim takes our pack for a while, or invites us to share her meal, or goes fumbling in her bag to dig out creams and blister pads for our beat-up feet. We can all think of stories.

But the point of random acts of kindness is that they're random. They just happen. You can't institutionalize them. Or can you?

In New Zealand, they're giving it a shot. September 1st, 2007 marks NZ's second national
Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day when everyone is supposed to do something to "lift the kindness temperature" of the nation. This is not a national holiday, more of a private initiative (with sponsorship from World Vision and Starbucks, no less), but it looks like it's worth a try. I say we go international with it. Let's all get out there today and shock someone with a random act of kindness.

(NB: the video is from 2006, the first RAK Day. And there does seem to be an international RAK movement. Check out the website of the American Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which identifies itself as "the US delegate to the World Kindness Movement, an organization that contain various nations." If you know more about the RAK movement, let the rest of us in on it.)

No comments: